GOVT BRACES FOR EL NIÑO

As the government takes contingency measures to mitigate the approaching El Niño phenomenon, Malacañang has called on the public to do its part and conserve water. Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., however, assured that the government has not yet adopted any water rationing plan even as the water level at the Angat Dam in Bulacan continues to drop. From the normal 212 meters, the water level at Angat Dam reportedly fell to 182 meters last weekend. The dam provides precious water supply to Metro Manila and nearby provinces. “Kaisa po kami sa panawagan ng DOST at PAGASA sa kahalagahan ng wasto at matipid na paggamit ng tubig [We join the appeal of the Department of Science and Technology and Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical, Astronomical Services Administration about the importance of proper use and conservation of water],” Coloma said over government radio. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) earlier announced the possible development of the weather-disrupting El Niño phenomenon that may begin next month, peak during the last quarter of 2014 and last up to the first quarter of 2015. READ MORE...

ALSO: Dry spell could last until 2015 – Palace

Malacañang yesterday called on the public to conserve water, as the imminent threat of continued dry spell could take as long as nine months or until early next year. Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. cited studies of the state weather bureau that the El Niño phenomenon could start in June, the month normally signaling the rainy season. Coloma said the studies revealed El Niño could last for nine months or until the first quarter of next year. This means the country will receive less rainfall, he said. Coloma said the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) would be releasing its regular updates or monthly reports on the weather patterns that will affect the country’s three main regions. Coloma cited the critical water level of the Angat Dam, where 90 percent of residents in Metro Manila get their water supply, including nearby provinces. The dam also helps in irrigation and generating power. As of 6 a.m. yesterday, the water level in Angat Dam was 182.61 meters, lower than its normal level of 186.04 meters. READ MORE...

ALSO: Clooney’s lawyer fiancée says GMA’s rights violated

Amal Alamuddin, a Lebanese-born British high-profile human rights international lawyer and presently engaged to Hollywood actor George Clooney, had aired the belief that former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s human rights may have been violated by the Aquino government as a result of her continued detention. The camp of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has decided to keep mum on reports that her continued hospital detention has drawn the attention of Amal Alamuddin, an international human rights lawyer who gained instant world celebrity status as popular American actor George Clooney’s fiancee. Alamuddin, a Lebanese-born British lawyer, reportedly had aired her view that Arroyo’s human rights may have been violated by the Aquino government as a result of her continued detention.READ MORE...

ALSO: Sandiganbayan allows Gloria Arroyo to have checkup at St. Luke's

The Sandiganbayan on Friday allowed former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (photo) to undergo a medical procedure at the St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City. Mrs. Arroyo's lawyer Modesto Ticman Jr. said the graft court's First Division granted their request to have the former Philippine leader undergo testing after she had trouble urinating. "Initially ang request namin sana i-conduct ang testing para bukas, Sabado. Pero napagalaman namin sa administration ng SLMC kung saan gagawin ang testing sarado ang Sabado," Ticman said in an interview on dzBB radio. He said the court allowed Mrs. Arroyo to go to the SLMC in Quezon City for testing until 3 p.m. In a phone interview with GMA News Online, Ticman said the former President will be brought to the hospital before noon on Friday. "Hinihintay ko nalang yung papeles. Tapos, kakausapin ang security for her transport," he said, adding that Arroyo will undergo a Urodynamic assessment to check the function her bladder and urethra. Additional expenses are to be shouldered by the former president, he added. In the dzBB interview, Ticman also said the request for checkup stemmed from Mrs. Arroyo's difficulty in urinating. There were instances blood was present in the urine, he said. READ MORE...

ALSO: MAKE IT MINDORO THIS SUMMER

When rock star Sting sang “Fields of Gold” and poetically describes its magical allure, he can very well be referring to the island province of Oriental Mindoro half a world away. Mindoro is a contraction of three Spanish words “Mina de Oro” which means mine of gold. Situated an hour away off Batangas City, Oriental Mindoro forms part of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway which connects Luzon and Visayas. Below are some of the fields of gold you can mine in this bucolic province: Puerto Galera. One of the country’s earliest beach hideaways discovered in the 1970s by European backpackers, this resort town is a top-of-mind destination for beach lovers. It has a series of beach coves, each with a distinct character, from those with a vibrant night life to the more quiet and sleepy shores. Named to the prestigious Paris-based “Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club” in 2005, Puerto Galera is a hotspot for marine biodiversity being at the heart of the world’s “Coral Triangle”. READ MORE...


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Gov’t braces for El Niño

Conserve water, public urged as Angat Dam level continues to drop

MANILA, MAY 5, 2014 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Genalyn Kabiling - As the government takes contingency measures to mitigate the approaching El Niño phenomenon, Malacañang has called on the public to do its part and conserve water.

Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., however, assured that the government has not yet adopted any water rationing plan even as the water level at the Angat Dam in Bulacan continues to drop.

From the normal 212 meters, the water level at Angat Dam reportedly fell to 182 meters last weekend. The dam provides precious water supply to Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

“Kaisa po kami sa panawagan ng DOST at PAGASA sa kahalagahan ng wasto at matipid na paggamit ng tubig [We join the appeal of the Department of Science and Technology and Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical, Astronomical Services Administration about the importance of proper use and conservation of water],” Coloma said over government radio.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) earlier announced the possible development of the weather-disrupting El Niño phenomenon that may begin next month, peak during the last quarter of 2014 and last up to the first quarter of 2015.

According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric and Administration (NOAA), El Niño is a warming of the central Pacific once every few years, from a combination of wind and waves in the tropics. It shakes up climate around the world, changing rain and temperature patterns and adversely affecting economies at both local and global scales.

The climate event got the name El Niño, meaning the boy in Spanish, when it was first noticed off the coast of Peru and Ecuador around Christmas time and was named after Christ the child.

PAGASA said the country can still have a normal number of tropical cyclones this year, but El Niño can affect their tracks and intensity, causing them to become erratic. The state weather bureau also said tropical cyclones may intensify and shift northward.

Critical level

“Ayon sa kanilang pinakahuling ulat, nasa kritikal na antas ang tubig sa Angat Dam na siyang pinanggagalingan ng hanggang 90 porsyento ng tubig sa Metro Manila at mga kalapit na lalawigan. Ginagamit din ang tubig mula sa Angat Dam para sa irigasyon at elektrisidad [Based on their latest report, the water level of Angat Dam is critical. The dam provides 90 percent of water in Metro Manila and nearby provinces. The water from Angat Dam is also used for irrigation and electricity],” he added.

Despite the tight water supply, Coloma assured that water rationing is not yet being discussed by authorities.

“Wala pa pong tinatalakay na ganyan at hindi po dapat maligalig o mangamba ang ating mga kababayan. Sa kasalukuyan po ang mahalaga ay magkaroon ng kamulatan na meron tayong kinakaharap na El Niño at dahil dito kailangan ang disiplina sa paggamit ng tubig, sa pagtitipid at wastong paggamit nito [We have not discussed that matter. The public should not be worried. At present, it is important to have public awareness about the imminent El Niño. Because of this, there should be discipline in water use, conservation of water],” Coloma said.

Since El Niño may mean reduced rainfall, Coloma said PAGASA is expected to issue a monthly rainfall outlook for six months for various parts of the country.

Precautionary measures

Coloma said concerned government agencies have been advised to take “precautionary measures to mitigate the potential impact of the El Niño phenomenon.”

He said as early as January, President Aquino directed the Cabinet to implement steps to address the effect of El Niño and other manifestations of climate change. He said the climate change mitigation and adaptation is one of the priority programs of the Philippine Development Plan.

Appropriate measures are also in place to ensure the country’s food security amid concerns the dry weather may affect the agriculture sector, according to Coloma.

FROM PHILSTAR

Dry spell could last until 2015 – Palace By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 5, 2014 - 12:00am 0 5 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang yesterday called on the public to conserve water, as the imminent threat of continued dry spell could take as long as nine months or until early next year.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. cited studies of the state weather bureau that the El Niño phenomenon could start in June, the month normally signaling the rainy season.

Coloma said the studies revealed El Niño could last for nine months or until the first quarter of next year.

This means the country will receive less rainfall, he said.

Coloma said the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) would be releasing its regular updates or monthly reports on the weather patterns that will affect the country’s three main regions.

Coloma cited the critical water level of the Angat Dam, where 90 percent of residents in Metro Manila get their water supply, including nearby provinces. The dam also helps in irrigation and generating power.

As of 6 a.m. yesterday, the water level in Angat Dam was 182.61 meters, lower than its normal level of 186.04 meters.

PAGASA Hydrometeorology Division chief Richard Orendain warned Angat Dam’s water level might reach critical level by mid-May.

“Of all the major dams, only Angat Dam has continued to remain low,” Orendain said.

If Angat’s water level lowers at the rate of 0.30 meters daily, it will hit the critical elevation of 180 meters this week, PAGASA said.

Officials said Angat Dam’s level dropped to 157.56 meters during an El Niño episode in July 2010.

Secretary Mario Montejo of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) earlier said the dry spell is “almost certain,” although he could not confirm yet how intense.

“The El Niño could affect the normal rainfall pattern of the country, resulting in reduced rainfall,” Montejo said.

PAGASA foresees the start of the El Niño season in June that might peak during the last quarter of the year until the first quarter of 2015.

The El Niño event could also cause tropical cyclones to be erratic, affecting their track and intensity, Montejo said.

PAGASA deputy administrator Flaviana Hilario said the increased temperature in the Pacific Ocean during El Niño intensifies weather disturbances such as storms and typhoons.

As early as January, Coloma said President Aquino had already tasked Cabinet members concerned to take the necessary steps to mitigate the effects of El Niño.

“The climate change mitigation and adaptation is one of the priority programs under the Philippine Development Plan,” Coloma stressed.

At the same time, Coloma said there is no need yet to impose rationing since the supply of water is still enough. However, the public is urged to practice discipline and conserve water as much as possible.

The National Power Corp. (Napocor) assured the public they would launch cloud-seeding operations over Angat to induce rains and replenish the water supply in the dam.

Napocor president Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita also called on the public to observe water conservation and water recycling in service areas covered by concessionaires of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System.

On the other hand, the water level of the Magat Dam, one of the major sources of power in the Luzon grid, remained below normal.

Saturnino Tenedor of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) said the dam’s water elevation only increased by a few meters from 167 meters because of afternoon rains in the past days. – With Helen Flores, Dino Balabo, Charlie Lagasca

Clooney’s lawyer fiancée says GMA’s rights violated by Ben Rosario May 4, 2014 (updated) Share this:


Amal Alamuddin, a Lebanese-born British high-profile human rights international lawyer and presently engaged to Hollywood actor George Clooney, had aired the belief that former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s human rights may have been violated by the Aquino government as a result of her continued detention.

Amal Alamuddin, a Lebanese-born British high-profile human rights international lawyer and presently engaged to Hollywood actor George Clooney, had aired the belief that former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s human rights may have been violated by the Aquino government as a result of her continued detention.

The camp of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has decided to keep mum on reports that her continued hospital detention has drawn the attention of Amal Alamuddin, an international human rights lawyer who gained instant world celebrity status as popular American actor George Clooney’s fiancee.

Alamuddin, a Lebanese-born British lawyer, reportedly had aired her view that Arroyo’s human rights may have been violated by the Aquino government as a result of her continued detention.

Lawyer Larry Gadon, one of Arroyo’s legal advisers, admitted that they have not been approached by Alamuddin about the former chief executive’s continued detention at a hospital suite at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center for over two years now.

On the other hand, Raul Lambino, Arroyo’s legislative chief of staff, said her family is happy that a highly-respected international lawyer has taken notice on the former president’s plight.

Like Gadon, Lambino said they merely received information about Alamuddin’s reported comments from the newspapers.

Alamuddin shot to fame shortly after Clooney, described as Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor, announced their engagement.

Now 36, Alamuddin took up law at Oxford University and New York University. She is described as an international law expert and a human rights activist.

News reports claimed that Alamuddin has aired plans to bring Arroyo’s case before the United Nations where she used to be assigned various legal and human rights work.

Arroyo’s appeal for bail has been twice denied by Sandiganbayan panel that voted on a split decision to keep her under hospital detention.

Except for a recent motion to allow her to undergo a special medical procedure at the St. Luke’s Medical Center, the Sandiganbayan has also junked several appeals from Arroyo’s lawyer to allow her brief furlough from continued detention.

Doctors have testified before the anti-graft body that the former president’s precarious health condition requires her a non-hospital environment.

The Department of Justice stopped Arroyo from leaving the country in 2011 through a directive that her lawyer’s claimed to be highly unconstitutional.

A Supreme Court petition questioning the filing of non-bailable plunder case against her has yet to be acted upon despite the lapse of a long period of time.

The case was assigned to Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, one of the four Supreme Court magistrates appointed under the Aquino government.

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Sandiganbayan allows Gloria Arroyo to have checkup at St. Luke's May 2, 2014 8:53am 1090 29 0 1160 Tags: Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (Updated 9:10 a.m.)

The Sandiganbayan on Friday allowed former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (photo) to undergo a medical procedure at the St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City.

Mrs. Arroyo's lawyer Modesto Ticman Jr. said the graft court's First Division granted their request to have the former Philippine leader undergo testing after she had trouble urinating.

"Initially ang request namin sana i-conduct ang testing para bukas, Sabado. Pero napagalaman namin sa administration ng SLMC kung saan gagawin ang testing sarado ang Sabado," Ticman said in an interview on dzBB radio.

He said the court allowed Mrs. Arroyo to go to the SLMC in Quezon City for testing until 3 p.m.

In a phone interview with GMA News Online, Ticman said the former President will be brought to the hospital before noon on Friday.

"Hinihintay ko nalang yung papeles. Tapos, kakausapin ang security for her transport," he said, adding that Arroyo will undergo a Urodynamic assessment to check the function her bladder and urethra.

Additional expenses are to be shouldered by the former president, he added.

In the dzBB interview, Ticman also said the request for checkup stemmed from Mrs. Arroyo's difficulty in urinating. There were instances blood was present in the urine, he said.

"Noong unang linggo ng Abril nahirapan siyang umihi, may bleeding," he said.

He said doctors had said that while this was not life-threatening, "ito pwede mag-progress into a more serious ailment" if it was left untreated.

Ticman said the procedure would take an hour and would not need confinement. — Joel Locsin and Amanda Fernandez /LBG, GMA News

FROM MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHTS

MAKE IT MINDORO THIS SUMMER By Anonymous | May 02, 2014

When rock star Sting sang “Fields of Gold” and poetically describes its magical allure, he can very well be referring to the island province of Oriental Mindoro half a world away.

Mindoro is a contraction of three Spanish words “Mina de Oro” which means mine of gold.

Situated an hour away off Batangas City, Oriental Mindoro forms part of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway which connects Luzon and Visayas.

Below are some of the fields of gold you can mine in this bucolic province:

Puerto Galera. One of the country’s earliest beach hideaways discovered in the 1970s by European backpackers, this resort town is a top-of-mind destination for beach lovers. It has a series of beach coves, each with a distinct character, from those with a vibrant night life to the more quiet and sleepy shores. Named to the prestigious Paris-based “Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club” in 2005, Puerto Galera is a hotspot for marine biodiversity being at the heart of the world’s “Coral Triangle”.

Beguiling Beaches. With a long coastline running from north to south, the province is dotted with sun-kissed beaches and uninhabited islets which will surely make you a stranger on the shore. A must-visit is the southernmost town of Bulalacao, a mini-archipelagic town which takes pride in the irresistible islets of Aslom, Buyayao, Sibalat, Maasin, Tambaron, Alibatan (Target) and Suguicay . These islands take you back to the basics of countryside living bereft of modern amenities but overflowing in nature’s bounty. Buktot in Mansalay is another noteworthy beach if you want a serene excursion away from the multitude.

Wondrous Waterworld. In addition to its rich coastlines, the province also takes pride in its mesmerizing waterfalls, lakes and rushing rivers which make it a wondrous waterworld. Soak in the rejuvenating icy cascades of Tamaraw Falls in Puerto Galera, Botolan in San Teodoro, Alpaparay in Baco, Manihala in Bansud, and Walang Langit in Gloria. You can also cruise aboard a banca or bamboo raft in the tranquil waters of Pola River, Caluangan Lake in Calapan and Naujan Lake, or get a hydromassage at Lantuyang River in Baco. For a dose of adrenaline, try your hand in white water kayaking at Aringoy River in San Teodoro, the must-do adventure in the province.

Cozy Up in Calapan. The capital city of Oriental Mindoro, Calapan is the place to be if you want a dash of modern living in this backwater province with its handful of boutique hotels, resorts and pocket shopping malls. It is also the main entry point to the province from Batangas City with its fast craft and roll-on, roll-off service if you decide to bring along your car. The mangrove forest in the remote village in Silonay is a showcase of coastal biodiversity, birdwatching and sustainable tourism where every guest is given the opportunity to enrich the mangroves.

Mount Halcon. Next to beach bumming, mountaineering is arguably the second most fascinating activity for Filipinos. And in this department, Mt. Halcon won’t disappoint. Standing at 2,582 feet tall, it is regarded as one of the toughest climbs in the archipelago and comprises the so-called which poses world-class tropical mountaineering challenges. Situated in Baco town straddling the two Mindoro provinces, the majestic mountain is habitat to endemic flora and fauna. A word of caution though: Halcon is not your ordinary trek, so you better do your homework and train hard before ascending this peak.

Soul Searching. As one of the earliest pre-Spanish settlements, Oriental Mindoro mirrors the soul of the Philippine archipelago. This can be seen at the Puerto Galera’s Excavation Museum where remarkable China ware from the Sung Dynasty and sunken goods from the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade have been unearthed. Meanwhile, the church ruins of Bancuro in Naujan and Kuta in Bongabong tell of the roots of Catholicism in the then undivided Mindoro island province. And lest we forget, the indigenous villages of Mangyan inhabitants are living museums themselves with their authentic way of life. -

 


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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