METRO'S TEMPERATURE HITS 36.5 DEG CELSIUS

The temperature in Metro Manila hit 36.5 degrees Celsius yesterday, the hottest recorded in the metropolis so far this year. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) recorded the warmest temperature at the Science Garden in Quezon City at 3 p.m. Yesterday’s temperature surpassed the 36.4 degrees Celsius recorded in the capital last May 1. PAGASA weather division chief Robert Sawi said the temperatures could still rise before the month ends. Sawi also said the rainy season will start in the coming weeks despite the El Niño phenomenon. The frequent occurrence of thunderstorms and the prevalence of an intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) indicate that the rainy season is drawing closer. “I think we will have a normal onset of the rainy season because some of the indicators such as the occurrence of thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening and the gradual movement of the ITCZ towards Mindanao are already happening,” Sawi told The STAR. READ MORE...

MINDANAO's POWER WOES BLAMED ON GOVT

Business and religious leaders in Mindanao rebuked the government for failing to address the power crisis in the region that is feared to worsen and may lead to longer outages. Zamboanga City Chamber of Commerce President Cholo Soliven gave a stinging criticism of the national government during a radio interview on Saturday, saying it was not doing enough to resolve the power problem in the South. “Why didn’t the government do anything when it knew the power crisis was coming? The government did not plan for this crisis well. Failing to plan was planning to fail,” Soliven said. Zamboanga City endures daily brownouts that last 10 hours. In other areas such as Davao and Cagayan de Oro, it lasts from 6 hours to 7 hours. Zamboanga, the second largest city in Mindanao, has the second largest number of banks. Environment leader Jericho Bustamante suspects that someone may be working behind the scenes to prolong the power crisis, since there have been reports that there was “abundant” water flowing from the Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City. Mindanao draws much of its electricity from hydro dams. “Matuwid na Daan, madilim naman,” he said, referring to President Benigno Aquino’s slogan of “Matuwid na Daan [straight path].”

ALSO: Mindanao power crisis: Crime spike tied to brownouts

Police are seeing a link between the power shortage that is gripping this city and other parts of Mindanao and a spike in the number of crimes in areas plagued by outages that last up to more than seven hours a day. In this city alone, Senior Supt. Vicente Danao Jr., city police chief, said the number of crimes that police have recorded has increased by 45 percent, or nearly half, in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period last year. The city and other parts of Mindanao started to be plagued by brownouts in March as a result of a shortage in electricity that was made worse by the reduced output of two hydropower facilities—Angus and Pulangi—that supply 60 percent of Mindanao’s power. Danao said by March, when the outages started being more frequent and longer, police started to record at least 58 crimes a day up from the 32 crimes reported daily in the same period last year. He said in the first three months of the year alone, 4,000 crimes have been committed mostly against persons and property. Danao said he believed the rotating brownouts are to blame for the spike in crimes. For instance, he said, the outages are rendering CCTV cameras, which help in crime prevention and investigation, useless. “Zero visibility,” said Danao. “You cannot see in the dark even if you have a generator,” he added. He said police had to resort to extra effort, like increased visibility, to fill the gap that anticrime measures being crippled by the outages have left.

ALSO: Mindanao traders lose P30 M every hour of blackout

Mindanao’s business community has been losing some P30 million for every hour of power outage, according to members of the group. This has prompted affiliates of the Mindanao Electric Power Alliance (MEPA) to convene in Davao City on May 18 to discuss the worsening power crisis in Mindanao, according to reports. MEPA groups together 33 organizations, which are key stakeholders to Mindanao’s power sector, including the Mindanao Business Council (MBC). The MBC is a member of the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee which President Aquino created in 2012. MEPA is composed of local power distribution utilities, chambers of commerce and industry, capitalists of the power industry, and the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP). “Let us see what we can do to solve the problem,” MBC chairman Vicente Lao was quoted as saying. The MEPA has been proposing reforms in the power business in Mindanao since 2012, according to Lao. Lao said the Mindanao economy would suffer from the power woes now besetting the island if the problem is left unresolved. Among the areas badly affected by the power crisis are the provinces of North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and neighboring areas in Region 12. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘We need a typhoon’- PAGASA

The country needs at least one strong typhoon to raise the level of water in the dams and alleviate the effects of El Niño. Dr. Landrico Dalida, deputy administrator of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said if it does not rain hard until the middle of May, several dams may cut water supply to irrigation facilities and operate only for power generation. Dalida, one of the resource speakers at a Department of Science and Technology (DOST) forum here advised the public to conserve water. “We need at least one typhoon or just a heavy rainfall. Most of the dams are nearing critical level and they may cut irrigation facilities,” Dalida said. However, Dalida revealed that based on PAGASA’s monitoring, a typhoon is unlikely to occur in May because there is no cloud formation in the Pacific region showing the presence of a low pressure area. He said cloud seeding may be done to induce water but the skies, particularly in areas where the dams are located are very clear. READ MORE..

ALSO: Angat Dam water level hits critical level

The water level in Angat Dam on Sunday reached the critical level. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said as of 1 p.m. the water in the dam hit 180.0 meters. Once the water reaches the critical level, the protocol is to immediately cut the irrigation supply, and then, if the water continues to recede, the supply for electric power plants, Pagasa said. Around 6 a.m., Pagasa’s Jason Bausa said, “the water in Angat Dam dropped to 180.12 meters,” and by noon it went down further to 180.02 meters. READ MORE...


Read Full Stories here:

Metro’s temperature hits 36.5 ºC

MANILA, MAY 12, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Helen Flores - The temperature in Metro Manila hit 36.5 degrees Celsius yesterday, the hottest recorded in the metropolis so far this year.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) recorded the warmest temperature at the Science Garden in Quezon City at 3 p.m.

Yesterday’s temperature surpassed the 36.4 degrees Celsius recorded in the capital last May 1.

PAGASA weather division chief Robert Sawi said the temperatures could still rise before the month ends.

Sawi also said the rainy season will start in the coming weeks despite the El Niño phenomenon. The frequent occurrence of thunderstorms and the prevalence of an intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) indicate that the rainy season is drawing closer.

“I think we will have a normal onset of the rainy season because some of the indicators such as the occurrence of thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening and the gradual movement of the ITCZ towards Mindanao are already happening,” Sawi told The STAR.

PAGASA said the wet season normally starts between the second half of May and first week of June.

PAGASA officially declares the onset of the rainy season once the southwest monsoon is the dominant wind system in the country and the amount of rainfall in at least five weather bureau stations across the country has reached 25 millimeters in volume over five consecutive days.

PAGASA foresees the onset of El Niño in June and it may peak during the last quarter of the year.

The country would experience the usual number of typhoons this year, perhaps stronger ones, despite the El Niño.

According to the weather bureau, at least 19 to 20 tropical cyclones enter the country every year. But because of El Niño, the tracks of tropical cyclones are expected to shift northward and the intensity could be stronger.

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Mindanao’s power woes blamed on govt  (MANILA TIMES) by Noel Tarrazona Correspondent MAY 12, 2014

ZAMBOANGA CITY -Business and religious leaders in Mindanao rebuked the government for failing to address the power crisis in the region that is feared to worsen and may lead to longer outages.

Zamboanga City Chamber of Commerce President Cholo Soliven gave a stinging criticism of the national government during a radio interview on Saturday, saying it was not doing enough to resolve the power problem in the South.

“Why didn’t the government do anything when it knew the power crisis was coming? The government did not plan for this crisis well. Failing to plan was planning to fail,” Soliven said.

Zamboanga City endures daily brownouts that last 10 hours. In other areas such as Davao and Cagayan de Oro, it lasts from 6 hours to 7 hours. Zamboanga, the second largest city in Mindanao, has the second largest number of banks.

Environment leader Jericho Bustamante suspects that someone may be working behind the scenes to prolong the power crisis, since there have been reports that there was “abundant” water flowing from the Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City.

Mindanao draws much of its electricity from hydro dams.

“Matuwid na Daan, madilim naman,” he said, referring to President Benigno Aquino’s slogan of “Matuwid na Daan [straight path].”

According to some estimates, businesses in Mindanao are losing close to P200 million a day because of the outages.

Laymen and religious leaders have joined the clamor for the national government to solve Mindanao’s power woes. Among the more vocal is Efren Santos, president of the Faithful Navigators and 4th Degree Knights of Columbus.

“What is the national government doing? With all the national government agencies in the government, all of them failed to address the power crisis. What a shame,” Santos told The Manila Times.

Zamboanga City needs around 90 megawatts but the local power distribution utility can only supply up to 50 megawatts, George Ledesma, general manager of Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, said.

The long brownouts have also disrupted bank services and caused bank equipment to break down, reported Dr. Myl Amsid, senior manager of the Bank of Philippine Islands and adviser of the local bankers association of Zamboanga.

Even the medical sector is affected. Because of the brownouts, hospitals can no longer provide emergency medical services to patients.

Ledesma urged power consumers to pray for rain.

Sellout

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate also blamed the government for Mindanao’s power problems.

Zarate said the situation worsened because the government sold two power barges —one in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte and in Maco, Compostela Valley—to the Aboitiz group in 2009 for $30 million. Together, the two barges produce 200 megawatts.

He noted that the 96-megawatt Mt. Apo Geothermal plant was also sold to the Lopez-controlled Energy Development Corp.

“This privatization effectively made Mindanaoans virtual hostages of the power cartel.

This is made even worst by the President’s indifferent declaration two years ago, offering Mindanaoans with only two options: pay even higher electricity or suffer more rotating brownouts,” Zarate said.

Zarate, who hails from Davao, lamented that the government’s remaining major power asset, the Agus-Pulangi hydropower plant, which has a capacity of 700 MW, is bogged down with problems because there is no money for maintenance.

Heavy siltation has also reduced the plant’s capacity to 500 megawatts.

“We fear that the current Mindanao power situation will once again be used by the Aquino government to fast-track the privatization of the Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Plant Complex. Instead of prioritizing the development of renewable energy, this situation will also be used to justify the entry of more dirty energy sources like coal-fired power plants, which ironically are also heavily water-dependent technology,” Zarate said.

“It is high time to put an end to this failed experiment and we return the power sector, this very basic public service, back to the effective control of the state,” he added. With Llanesca Panti

FROM THE INQUIRER

Mindanao power crisis: Crime spike tied to brownouts Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:04 am | Friday, May 9th, 2014


NO IPAD, TV, mobile phone or even reading for this boy in Zamboanga City as he stares at the only source of light in his home, a lit candle, in a scene repeated many times over in many parts of Mindanao being plagued by a crisis in power. JULIE S. ALIPALA/ INQUIRER MINDANAO

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Police are seeing a link between the power shortage that is gripping this city and other parts of Mindanao and a spike in the number of crimes in areas plagued by outages that last up to more than seven hours a day.

In this city alone, Senior Supt. Vicente Danao Jr., city police chief, said the number of crimes that police have recorded has increased by 45 percent, or nearly half, in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period last year.

The city and other parts of Mindanao started to be plagued by brownouts in March as a result of a shortage in electricity that was made worse by the reduced output of two hydropower facilities—Angus and Pulangi—that supply 60 percent of Mindanao’s power.

Danao said by March, when the outages started being more frequent and longer, police started to record at least 58 crimes a day up from the 32 crimes reported daily in the same period last year.

He said in the first three months of the year alone, 4,000 crimes have been committed mostly against persons and property.

Danao said he believed the rotating brownouts are to blame for the spike in crimes.

For instance, he said, the outages are rendering CCTV cameras, which help in crime prevention and investigation, useless.
“Zero visibility,” said Danao. “You cannot see in the dark even if you have a generator,” he added.

He said police had to resort to extra effort, like increased visibility, to fill the gap that anticrime measures being crippled by the outages have left.

“I myself go on patrol,” said Danao.

Col. Casiano Monilla, head of the anticrime Task Force Davao, said soldiers, too, have been deployed to strategic areas in the city to help police fight crime amid the brownouts.

He said 17 members of the task force are to roam the city aboard motorcycles as a crime prevention measure.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said the city government plans to hire at least 1,000 watchmen to help law enforcers keep peace and order.

Each watchman would be paid P6,000 per month and get training on peacekeeping, said Duterte. They may also be issued firearms, he said.

“We have to give them more police power,” said the mayor.

In Cotabato City, police and military authorities said they were also bracing for a surge in criminality, particularly kidnappings, because of the outages.

“This is a united effort to quell lawlessness and terrorism that may occur at night while we are experiencing brownouts,” said Col. Dickson Hermoso, spokesperson of the 6th Infantry Division.

Hermoso said Senior Supt. Rolen Balquin, Cotabato City police chief, agreed to conduct weekly meetings on the anticrime campaign to keep authorities updated.

Ramil Masukat, head of the Radio Emergency Communication Network (Recon), an anticrime watchdog, said his group would help authorities fight crime in Cotabato City.

Recon members are armed with VHF radios that they can use to report crimes, he said.

The outages are also disrupting the ongoing registration of new voters in Kidapawan City, which is being plagued by up to six hours of brownouts daily.

Diosdado Javier, Kidapawan election officer, said the outages are slowing the processing of voter applications.

Javier said his office has requested for a generator from the Commission on Elections main office in Manila but there has been no response yet. Reports from Allan Nawal, Williamor Magbanua, Charlie Señase and Eldie Aguirre, Inquirer Mindanao

FROM PHILSTAR

Mindanao traders lose P30 M every hour of blackout By John Unson (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 9, 2014 - 12:00am 0 26 googleplus1 0


In April 28, 2013 President Aquino has assured the people of Mindanao that the decision to build more infrastructure projects such as power plants will ensure that the energy crisis in the region will be resolved by 2015.

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Mindanao’s business community has been losing some P30 million for every hour of power outage, according to members of the group.

This has prompted affiliates of the Mindanao Electric Power Alliance (MEPA) to convene in Davao City on May 18 to discuss the worsening power crisis in Mindanao, according to reports.

MEPA groups together 33 organizations, which are key stakeholders to Mindanao’s power sector, including the Mindanao Business Council (MBC).

The MBC is a member of the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee which President Aquino created in 2012.

MEPA is composed of local power distribution utilities, chambers of commerce and industry, capitalists of the power industry, and the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

“Let us see what we can do to solve the problem,” MBC chairman Vicente Lao was quoted as saying.

The MEPA has been proposing reforms in the power business in Mindanao since 2012, according to Lao.

Lao said the Mindanao economy would suffer from the power woes now besetting the island if the problem is left unresolved.

Among the areas badly affected by the power crisis are the provinces of North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and neighboring areas in Region 12.

Vicente Baguio, spokesman of the Cotabato Electric Cooperative (Cotelco), said their power supply curtailment is expected to loosen up with the resumption of operation of one of two STEAG power plants in Misamis Oriental.

“We expect some increase in power supply that Cotelco is getting from this power supplier plus the augmentation supply from Therma Marine,” Baguio said, referring to the STEAG power plants and the private Therma Marine power plant in the Davao area.

Dan Zambrano, president of the Metro Kidapawan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the business sector in Kidapawan City has been losing millions of pesos in terms of daily income due to the power outages.

Traders are apprehensive that the power crisis hounding Mindanao could get worse in the coming days with the diminishing level, due to the dry weather, of the water at Lake Lanao, whose downstream flow propels the state-owned hydro-electric plants supplying about three-fourths of the island’s daily power requirements.

Beth Ladaga, NGCP spokesperson, though said the STEAG plant was only able to provide 104 megawatts to the grid.

Ladaga said it will be the National Power Corp. (Napocor) which will determine the allocation of the additional power supply to the electric cooperatives and other power companies.

She said they are awaiting an advisory from Napocor in this regard as they monitor the situation on an hourly basis.

She added that the power curtailment has been reduced from 280 MW on Wednesday to 160 MW yesterday morning.

Marilyn Chaves, of the Cagayan Electric Power and Light Co. (Cepalco), said their load allocation has increased from 28 MW on Wednesday to 38 MW yesterday morning.

Chaves said Cepalco will come out with a new schedule for power interruptions but added that blackouts in the city will only be reduced from 7.5 hours to just seven hours. – With Gerry Lee Gorit

FROM MANILA BULLETIN

‘We need a typhoon’- PAGASA by Erwin G. Beleo May 9, 2014 (updated)

San Fernando City, La Union — The country needs at least one strong typhoon to raise the level of water in the dams and alleviate the effects of El Niño.

Dr. Landrico Dalida, deputy administrator of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said if it does not rain hard until the middle of May, several dams may cut water supply to irrigation facilities and operate only for power generation.

Dalida, one of the resource speakers at a Department of Science and Technology (DOST) forum here advised the public to conserve water.

“We need at least one typhoon or just a heavy rainfall. Most of the dams are nearing critical level and they may cut irrigation facilities,” Dalida said.

However, Dalida revealed that based on PAGASA’s monitoring, a typhoon is unlikely to occur in May because there is no cloud formation in the Pacific region showing the presence of a low pressure area.

He said cloud seeding may be done to induce water but the skies, particularly in areas where the dams are located are very clear.

The water level in Angat Dam as well as other dams in Luzon such as Ipo, La Mesa, Ambuklao, Binga, San Roque, Pantabangan, Magat, and Caliraya continue to drop based on PAGASA’s daily monitoring, Dalida added.

As of 6 a.m. yesterday, PAGASA’a dam monitoring showed that Angat decreased its water level by -0.46m, Ambuklao by -0.16m, Binga by -0.38m and San Roque by 0.24m.

Most climate models indicate that El Niño may develop next month and most likely affect Luzon and the Visayas regions until the first quarter of 2015. Dalida said concerned agencies were already advised to take precautionary measures to mitigate the potential impacts of El Niño.

Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said El Nino conditions could emerge as early as July, maintaining its outlook of the chance of the event at 70 percent while theUSweather forecaster placed the chances of the much-feared phenomenon to wreak havoc on global crops during the Northern Hemisphere summer exceeded 65 percent.

El Niño, a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific, can trigger both floods and drought in different parts of the globe.

The worst El Niño on record in 1997/98 was blamed for massive flooding along China’s Yangtze river that killed more than 1,500 people.

Previous El Niño episodes caused severe dry spells in the Philippines, affecting vast tracts of farmland. A rice shortfall due to typhoons and drought connected to El Niño in 2010 prompted record imports of the national staple.

•Grains, oilseeds, livestock

El Niño could bring dry weather to Australia, which is already struggling with a drought. El Niño could also curb wheat, sugar and cotton production in the country. An El Niño episode usually results in below-average rainfall in main palm oil producers Indonesia and Malaysia, cutting yields and pushing up global prices. It could also hurt crops in Thailand, one of the world’s largest rice exporters, potentially worsening drought conditions.

El Niño would bring milder-than-normal temperatures to the major crop production areas of theUSMidwest. Iowa and Minnesota would benefit from the event’s tendency for wetter-than-normal summers as the western Corn Belt continues to recover from a drought.

But excessive rains in the saturated soils of the eastern Corn Belt could be troublesome, particularly following this year’s overly snowy winter. Drought-hit California, a major dairy and wine grape state, could see more rain than normal.

In China, El Niño could bring more rain to areas south of the Yellow River and cause flooding in the country’s major rice and cotton growing regions.

Lower-than-normal temperatures could also occur in the country’s top corn and soy areas in the northeast, leading to frost damage and lower grain output.

A strong El Niño in India would trigger lower production of summer crops such as rice, sugarcane and oilseeds. India is the world’s No.2 producer of rice and wheat.

•Soft commodities

Erratic weather could affect the development of coffee cherries and cocoa pods. In Indonesia, the world’s third-largest cocoa producer, El Niño usually means extremely dry weather. Indonesia competes in the robusta coffee market with Vietnam, which would also suffer from an El Niño.

El Niño usually brings warmer winters to Brazil, the world’s top coffee producer, reducing the risk of coffee frost. But heavy rains would crimp production.

Drier weather could also help beat back moisture-loving roya or leaf rust fungus that is ravaging coffee plantations in Central America.

In 2009, El Niño turned Indian monsoon patchy, leading to the worst drought in nearly four decades which helped push global sugar prices to their highest in around 30 years.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Angat Dam water level hits critical level INQUIRER.net 4:39 pm | Sunday, May 11th, 2014


Angat Dam. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The water level in Angat Dam on Sunday reached the critical level.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said as of 1 p.m. the water in the dam hit 180.0 meters.

Once the water reaches the critical level, the protocol is to immediately cut the irrigation supply, and then, if the water continues to recede, the supply for electric power plants, Pagasa said.

Around 6 a.m., Pagasa’s Jason Bausa said, “the water in Angat Dam dropped to 180.12 meters,” and by noon it went down further to 180.02 meters.

FROM PHILSTAR

Angat dam hits critical level By Dino Balabo (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 12, 2014 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The water level at the Angat Dam yesterday reached the critical level of 180 meters due to lack of rainfall.

Based on data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, the dam’s elevation was at 180.12 meters as of 6 a.m.

However, it dropped to 180 meters as of 1 p.m.

Rodolfo German, general manager of the Angat River Hydroelectric Power Plant, said the reservoir is still operational but they decided to suspend temporarily the water allocation for irrigation in Bulacan and Pampanga.

Angat Dam supplies 95 percent of Metro Manila’s domestic water needs and irrigation for 27,000 hectares of farmlands in Bulacan and Pampanga.

The planned cloud seeding over the dam’s watershed has not started as the National Power Corp. is still trying to secure a clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, said Napocor president Gladys Cruz Sta. Rita.

Meanwhile, Fr. Dario Cabral of the Diocese of Malolos turned to prayer for rain as he held a Mass in Barangay Malhacan, Meycauayan City yesterday.

“We are offering oratio imperata, a prayer to appeal for rain. Nothing is impossible with God,” Cabral told reporters.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE