After tropical storm Washi ripped through regions of the island Mindanao on December 16 with little warning, Philippine President Benigno Aquino recently signed an executive order declaring that schools and local governmental offices and businesses can be closed without official government authority, IRIN
The new executive order gives authority to local governments to decide to cancel school and work if they think a storm or another natural disaster may be getting too close. These decisions can be made even if the state weather forecaster hasn't raised any alarms yet.
"This executive order is an assertion of the state's declared policy to institutionalize measures that will ensure that the general public, including students and state workers, will be safe from hazards and their lives and limbs will be safeguarded," Aquino's chief aide, Paquito Ochoa, said in the order.
The need for these new regulations comes in the wake of the tropical storm and in preparation for the 20 typhoons that hit the nation annually. By letting individual regions dictate when it's time to evacuate, more citizens might be able to prepare food security and other necessities before it's too late.