TYPHOON Mawar, locally named Betty, could be out of the Philippine area by late Thursday or Friday morning, according to state weather agency PAGASA.  

In its 5 p.m. bulletin on Tuesday, PAGASA said the typhoon was 315 kilometers east of Batanes, the northernmost islands in the country.    

Typhoon Betty is forecast to generally move slowly between today until tomorrow as it turns more northward over the waters east of Batanes. Afterwards, the typhoon will gradually accelerate north northeastward on Thursday and northeastward on Friday, bringing its center over the waters southeast of the Ryukyu Islands,it said.  

Almost 5,500 people or 1,664 families were preemptively evacuated since Monday, according to the national disaster management council.   

Majority of them were in the Cagayan Valley in the north, and Western Visayas in central Philippines, where heavy rains and wind were expected as the typhoon was enhancing the southwest monsoon.   

Under the influence of Typhoon Betty and the enhanced Southwest Monsoon, a marine gale warning remains in effect over the seaboards of Northern Luzon, eastern seaboards of Central Luzon, the seaboards of Southern Luzon, and the seaboards of Visayas,PAGASA said.   

In the Cordilleras, the municipal disaster management office of Tuba, Benguet reiterated its appeal to residents to evacuate, particularly those in areas prone to landslides.    

Tuba disaster management officials cited Kiangan Village and sitio Laao, both along Kennon Road, which are considered high-risk spots.  

Jonathan N. Labotan, head of the disaster management office, said designated evacuation areas were all ready to accommodate residents.  

In Baguio, Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong suspended classes from elementary to senior high school for both public and private schools Tuesday as occasional heavy rains and gusty winds lashed at the mountain city.     

Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said prices and supply of basic goods are stable in northern Luzon amid the onslaught of Betty. 

In a statement late Monday, the DTI said supplies of staples across supermarkets are enough for the next two to four weeks, based on its market monitoring.    

“We have already spoken to manufacturers, and they are ready to fill the shelves in time for the super typhoon. We urge consumers to be prepared but avoid panic buying and hoarding of groceries,Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said.    

He added that the departments regional and provincial offices are closely coordinating with Local Price Coordinating Councils to synchronize price and supply monitoring activities. 

The DTIs mandate covers the price monitoring of basic necessities such as canned fish, locally manufactured instant noodles, bottled water, bread, processed milk, coffee, candles, laundry soap, detergent, and salt. Revin Mikhael D. Ochave and Artemio A. Dumlao