MANILA, Philippines — Clusters of clouds east of Mindanao being monitored by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) are likely to develop into a low-pressure area that could enter the Philippine area of responsibility before New Year’s Day, the state weather bureau said yesterday.
“Based on the forecast model, these cloud clusters may develop into a low-pressure area and enter the country tomorrow or on Sunday, New Year’s Eve,” PAGASA weather forecaster Ariel Rojas said.
The low-pressure area may later develop into a tropical depression to be named Wilma if it enters the Philippine area of responsibility on Dec. 31. however, if it enters on Jan. 1, it will be named Agaton, as PAGASA will follow a new list of names for weather disturbances in the country in the new year.
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Rojas noted that the level of uncertainty for this to happen is still high and a landfall is expected in the Surigao area.
Meanwhile, PAGASA said the tail-end of a cold front is affecting the eastern sections of Southern Luzon and the Visayas while the northeast monsoon is affecting Northern and Central Luzon.
The Bicol region, Visayas, Southern Quezon, Mindoro, Marinduque and Romblon will have cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms due to the same weather system.
“Cagayan Valley, Cordillera, Aurora and Northern Quezon including Polillo Islands will experience cloudy skies with scattered rains because of the northeast monsoon,” PAGASA noted in its 4 p.m. bulletin.
Metro Manila, Ilocos region and the rest of Central Luzon and Calabarzon will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rains also due to the northeast monsoon.
Mindanao and Palawan will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers due to localized thunderstorms.
Landslide in Catanduanes
Days of intermittent heavy rains brought about by the tail-end of a cold front triggered a landslide along the national highway in Sitio Pambarote in Caramoran, Catanduanes.
Barangay head Panchito Verano said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) district engineering office in the area immediately conducted road clearing operation.
He added that the landslide also affected areas planted with abaca.
Some 10 families were evacuated in Barangay Guiamlong also due to the landslide.
Meanwhile, 18 families in Barangay Kamagong in Oas, Albay are requesting help from the local government after a crack measuring 12 inches has been observed on the side of the mountain near the barangay due to intermittent heavy rains in the past days.
Villagers fear a landslide could occur and blamed the contractor of the road-widening project of the DPWH.
Urduja, Vinta agriculture damage: P1.2 billion
The cost of damage to agriculture in areas affected by recent Tropical Storms Urduja (Kai-tak) and Vinta (Tembin) has reached P1.2 billion, with the crops sector sustaining the most damage, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.
An updated report from the DA showed that agricultural damage has amounted to P1.24 billion covering 58,876 hectares of agricultural areas in eight affected regions, with estimated volume of production loss at 28,737 metric tons (MT).
Bulk of the damage or P1 billion was due to Urduja while the remaining losses were brought by Vinta, affecting almost all agriculture commodities and approximately 40,000 farmers.
Rice still accounted for the largest share of losses at P609 million, covering 50,793 hectares equivalent to 15 percent of the total standing crop of 291,746 hectares.
“Most affected rice crops are in sowing, seedling, newly transplanted and vegetative stages,” DA-Field Programs Operational Planning Division chief Christopher Morales said.
Significant losses were also noted in high-value crops, particularly vegetables, as current damage is now at P444 million.
“Assorted vegetables are mostly on their maturity to harvestable stage, while most bananas and sweet potatoes are on their reproductive to harvestable stage,” Morales said.
Corn also accounted for P104 million worth of losses affecting 4,261 hectares, a majority of which are in its seedling to vegetative stage. As for cassava, 106 hectares were affected, amounting to about P5.44 million.
In livestock, damage is now estimated at P6.66 million which covers 2,367 poultry heads, 351 goats, 363 swine and some carabao and cattle.
For agri-infrastructure facilities, value of damage included research and experiment stations and irrigation facilities, specifically diversion dams, which amount to P74 million.
Aid to storm victims
Meanwhile, inmates of Dasmariñas City Jail Male Dormitory shared earnings from their livelihood while in jail and raised goods through potluck for donations to victims of Urduja and Vinta, according to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
Dorm warden Chief Insp. Roland Badio said BJMP personnel also donated 300 cans of sardines and 360 packs of noodles, which were delivered to the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s National Resource Operation Center in Pasay City yesterday.
For its part, PDP Cares, a humanitarian arm of administration party PDP-Laban, recently distributed relief goods to 500 residents of Biliran province badly affected by Vinta.
PDP Cares vice chairman Ryan Anthony Culima told The STAR that PDP Cares also distributed Christmas packs for 75 families in Butuan City affected by a fire recently.
Some 25,000 bottles of water donated by Asia Brewery were also given to landslide victims in Biliran, he said.
The European Union-Philippines has also announced that it is allocating P34 million in humanitarian aid for Vinta victims. – Celso Amo, Louise Maureen Simeon, Jaime Laude, Evelyn Macairan, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Ben Serrano
The Philippine Star
Updated December 29, 2017 – 12:00am