Non-essential govt offices closed today


Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has advised all employees of non-essential government agencies, departments, and offices to not report for work today so they could prepare for Typhoon Mangkhut.

In a statement, Torres urged the community to prepare for the worst. “On behalf of Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog and my entire administration, especially our hardworking team at the CNMI Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, I urge everyone in the Marianas to prepare for the worst and stay informed of all updates from [Homeland Security and Emergency Management] and the CNMI [Emergence Operations Center] State Warning Point.

“After monitoring the potential strength and path of this storm, this typhoon is not something to take lightly,” said Torres, who added that government payroll was released yesterday—both the electronic process through Bank of Guam and paychecks for non-Bank of Guam account holders.

The U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port for Guam has established Port Heavy Weather Condition Yankee for the ports of Guam, Saipan, Rota, and Tinian as of 12pm yesterday in advance of Typhoon Mangkhut.

Port Heavy Weather Condition Yankee is set when gale force winds are predicted to arrive within 24 hours.

Mangkhut has been upgraded into a typhoon as it continues to intensify heading to the Marianas. The National Weather Service in Guam issued a typhoon warning for the major islands of Guam, Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.

Mangkhut expects to pack destructive winds of 74mph as early as Monday afternoon, according to the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Torres has upgraded the CNMI to Typhoon Condition 2 due to the anticipated threat from Mangkhut, which is currently located—as of 1pm CHST—at about 550 miles east of Saipan, 560 miles east of Tinian, 590 miles east of Rota, and 630 miles east of Guam.

Press secretary Kevin Bautista told Saipan Tribune that all employees of critical agencies—like the Department of Public Safety, Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Commonwealth Health Center, Commonwealth Utilities Corp., and HSEM—are on call and duty.

“[All] critical government departments and agency employees and personnel [are on standby]. This includes all department and activity heads, law enforcement, and our HSEM and hospital staff,” said Bautista.

The Office of the Governor is also “in the process of working on preventing price gouging with [our] legal [counsel].”

Bautista added that they also postponed the scheduled proclamation signings—Field of Heroes, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, and Amot Natibu—today and tomorrow.

The CNMI Public School System and Northern Marianas College has already called off classes as well private schools Green Meadows School, Mt. Carmel School, Saipan International School, Grace Christian Academy, Saipan Community School, and Northern Marianas International School.

PSS opened its emergency shelters at 4pm yesterday on Saipan—Tanapag Middle School, Marianas High School, Koblerville Elementary School, and Kagman High School.

CUC has also opened its Customer Service Center to allow its customers to purchase prepaid token purchases while the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs will open Saipan’s Aging Center to the public today.

Kristo Rai Parish cancelled its 5pm Mass yesterday and the 6am Mass today.

Long lines were seen at several gas stations while stores were packed with customers buying essential supplies in preparation for Mangkhut. Supporters of some candidates also took down campaign materials.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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