#WalangPasok trends amid lockdown imposed over typhoon-hit Philippines

May 15, 2020 - 7:43 PM
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Typhoon Ambo PAGASA
A satellite image of Typhoon "Ambo" (international name "Vongfong") captured by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration on May 15, 2020, at 4:20 p.m. (Photo from DOST PAGASA via Facebook)

The hashtag “#WalangPasok” made it to local Twitter’s trending list Friday afternoon as Typhoon “Ambo” batters parts of the country amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

The hashtag, often used in social media announcements of class suspension, surfaced anew as students recounted how it has previously affected them prior to the community quarantine.

Local media outlets also use the similar hashtag in their class or work suspension announcements as well.

A Twitter user recounted how her fellow students would plead for their respective city and town mayors to call off classes whenever typhoons would batter the country.

“I miss watching everyone screaming about suspension to our mayors on Twitter hhhh #WalangPasok,” she wrote

Mayors would usually use social media, particularly Twitter, to declare class suspensions. It would then be disseminated through the pages of their local government units or through news outlets.

Some local chief executives would actively reply to their constituents like Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.

RELATED: Why Isko Moreno, other Metro Manila mayors refused to suspend classes despite rains

Meanwhile, another Twitter user called for online classes suspension due to the inclement weather and added that it might affect signals transmitted through cables hoisted in telephone poles.

“Suspend online class!!!! The signal ain’t that fast, as usual #WalangPasok,” the online user wrote

Kapag po ba online class tapos may bagyo, may declaration #WalangPasok, kasi pwedeng mag-brown out, walang wi-fi o kaya malakas ulan, ‘di makaka-pagload tapos mahina rin signal hehehe lol,” another student commented

Suspension of ‘classes’

While the perpetrator of the trending hashtag remains unknown, the city chief of Pasig might have something to do about it.

Last night, Sotto used the #WalangPasok hashtag in jest and announced that classes are suspended “in all levels, public and private,” in Pasig City.

“O maaga announcement ngayon ha,” the youngest city chief in the metro added with a smiling emoji.

Sotto, however, advised Pasig students, especially city scholars, to try to find time to study amid the lockdown, even “in between TikToks,” referring to a popular Chinese-made mobile app where people can share videos and gain friends.

The National Capital Region and some provinces of the country have been placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in a bid to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus disease, which entails strict stay-at-home guidelines.

Most regions would shift to a general community quarantine—a less strict version of the lockdown—but high-risk areas like NCR, Cebu City and Laguna will still remain under ECQ until the end of May, albeit a modified version.

Meanwhile, as a result of the current lockdown, onsite classes have been called off but others have shifted to online learning to finish the remaining months of the semester.

First typhoon of the country 

Some parts of the country are currently facing the wrath of Severe Tropical Storm “Ambo” (international name “Vongfong“) that initially landed on Eastern Samar on Thursday.

It has since made seven landfalls and has ravaged provinces on its destructive path, leaving over 140,000 Filipinos temporarily displaced from their shelters in the middle of the pandemic.

Images of its havoc were documented by some Filipinos affected by the tropical cyclone.

At 4 p.m., the severe tropical storm’s eye was located 40 km South of Infanta, Quezon (14.4°N, 121.7°E). It packs maximum sustained winds of up to 100 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 140 kph.

Moderate to heavy—with at times intense—rains are expected to prevail over Quezon, Marinduque, Aurora, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino.

Typhoon “Ambo” is the first tropical cyclone to have entered the Philippines this year.