Friday, January 4, 2013

Palawan, Philippines Hit by Storm Auring

Southern Palawan remains under public storm warning signal No. 1 as tropical storm "Auring" maintained course as it moves away from the country, the state weather bureau said.

Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Forecaster Alvin Pura said that as of 10 a.m. Friday, Auring was located at 330 kilometers southwest of Puerto Princesa City (8.5°N, 115.8°E) packed with maximum winds of 65 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph.

Pura said Auring has maintained its direction and speed as it moves west at 28 kph. The tropical storm is expected to be out of the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) by Friday afternoon towards Vietnam.

The warning signal in southern Palawan is now lowered to signal no.1 (winds of 30-60 kph). Storm warning signals elsewhere are also now lowered.

Tropical storm "Auring" will bring 10-20 mm of rains per hour (heavy-intense) within its 300-km diameter, PAGASA said.

PAGASA is advising residents living in low lying and mountainous areas under public storm warning signal 1 to be on alert against possible flash floods and landslides.

The weather bureau warned fishing boats and other small sea craft against venturing out "into the seaboards of Northern and Central Luzon and the western seaboards of Southern Luzon due to the northeast monsoon.

PAGASA said that tropical storm Auring is expected to be at 930 km southwest of Puerto Princesa City by Saturday morning or outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

PAGASA said gradual weather improvement or "fewer rains" is expected over Visayas and Mindanao starting Friday evening, as the cyclone leaves the PAR.

Meanwhile, Pura said they have spotted a new cloud cluster over the Pacific Ocean that may become another LPA.

Philippine Typhoon Auring Slams Palawan

by PNA

Trees falling on power transmission posts due to strong winds brought by tropical storm "Auring" rendered this highly-urbanized city without power for more than two hours on Friday.

Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) spokesperson Vicky Basilio said Puerto Princesa and several municipalities in the southern part of the province experienced the power loss shortly after midnight. Power was restored at around 2:27 a.m. in some parts of the town proper.

Several outlying barangays in the north remained without electricity Basilio said.

In southern Palawan, the towns of Aborlan, Narra, Brooke's Point, Sofronio EspaƱola, Quezon and Bataraza were experiencing intermittent power losses.

Basilio said power will only be fully restored when the strong winds and rains have stopped.

"All our clearing teams were dispensed in the north to repair power lines where trees have fallen," she said.

In Brooke's Point, resident Gina Quimat said that families have been evacuated to higher grounds in Barangay Mainit where river has swelled because of continued heavy rains.

Strong wind toppled the 15-foot Christmas tree in front of the Brooke's Point Municipal Building on Thursday night.

Philippine Chess Tournaments 2013

The city is now in the thick of preparations for the hosting of the 2013 National Age-Group Chess Championships Visayas qualifying leg slated on Jan. 9 to 12 at the multi-purpose hall here.

Mayor Patrick Escalante was informed of the hosting last Wednesday by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) as a last minute substitution for Roxas City, Capiz which is affected by flooding.

The mayor readily accepted to generate revenue and uplift their sports-tourism program.

Grandmaster Jason Gonzales will act as the tournament director and international arbiter Gene Poliarco as chief arbiter.

The qualifying leg will be the basis to select qualifiers to the Grand Finals of the 2013 National Age-Group Chess championships.

The winners will also represent the Philippines in the 2013 ASEAN-Age Group in Bangkok, Thailand on June 8 to 17, and the 2013 Asian Youth Chess Championships in Mashdad, Iran on June 20 to 27.

The chess players are set to compete in six categories; the boys' and girls' 20 & below; 16 & below; 14 & below; 12 & below; 10 & below and 8 & below.

A registration fee of P200 and P300 as NCFP membership fee will be charge.

The tournament format will be six to seven rounds Swiss System, depending upon the number of participants for each category.

The top two boys and top two girls from each category shall advance to the Grand Finals together with the seeded and qualified titled players.

Philippine Inflation Rate 2012 Slows Down

The Aquino administration expressed elation over the report of the National Statistics Office the country's annual average headline inflation rate slowed down to 3.2 percent in 2012 from 4.6 in 2011, a Palace official said.

"This is the slowest pace inflation has grown on a year-on-year basis since 2008," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a statement issued Friday.

Citing the NSO report, Valte said the monthly inflation rate for December increased marginally to 2.9 percent from November's 2.8 percent.

"The rate is considerably lower than the 4.2 percent inflation rate of December 2011. According to NSO, this was due to higher annual rates in the food and non-alcoholic beverages and alcoholic beverages and tobacco indices," Valte said.

"Considering the strong performance of the Philippine economy, which grew at 7.1 percent in the third quarter of 2012, the inflation rate has remained stable and well within the 3 to 5 percent target set in the Philippine Development Plan (2011-2016)," she said.

Reaction on Philippine Reproductive Health Bill

By Jelly Musico

Senators who voted for the passage of Reproductive Health Bill say they respect the rights of anybody to question the legality of the newly-passed law, hoping the Supreme Court would act swiftly on the petition to stop its implementation.

"I hope the SC will act swiftly on this case to remove any shadow of doubt with respect to the law," Sen. Francis Escudero said.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the petition for certiorari and prohibition against Republic Act No. 10354 filed by lawyers James Imbong and his wife Lovely-Ann at the SC Wednesday shows that democracy in the country is alive and healthy.

"Once in a while, it is good to test the constitutionality of laws passed by congress. Providing the check and balance in whatever means is healthy for the country's democracy," Lacson said.

"I hope the SC as the final arbiter will see what is in the best interest of the country and people when they render a ruling on the filed petition," Lacson added.

The Imbongs, who filed the petition on behalf of their two children, asked the SC to stop the implementation of the law which they claimed "mocks the nation's Filipino culture."

Escudero said the petition "is the correct and legal course of action instead of other means that may have a destabilizing effect on our economy."

Escudero said the petition would hamper the implementation of the RH law "unless of course the SC issues a temporary restraining order."

Escudero and Lacson were among the 13 senators who voted for the passage of the RH bill in the Senate last December 17 after months of heated debates on the floor.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, one of the eight senators who opposed the bill, welcomed the petition, hoping "the SC will scrutinize it to decide the constitutionality."

"I still believe that RH is a foreign imposition as I have been saying all along and therefore cuts through our sovereignty," Sotto said.

"That's why even if my amendments were accepted, I still voted against it. I wonder what has happened to some of our so-called nationalists," Sotto added.