PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK UPDATE

'RUBY' WEAKENS BUT LEAVES 21 DEAD; WORST IS OVER FOR THE VISAYAS

5:24 PM | Monday - PHOTO: Fisherfolk secure their fishing boats at the coastal area in Parañaque City on Sunday, December 7, in preparation for Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit) that will start affecting Metro Manila on Monday. Danny PataTyphoon “Ruby” weakened into a tropical storm Monday, leaving at least 21 people dead, forcing more than a million people into shelters but sparing most of the Visayas region still haunted by last year’s monster storm. While the worst was over in central island provinces, where the sun peeked Monday after days of stormy weather, the bustling capital, Manila, and outlying provinces braced as Ruby blew nearer with maximum sustained winds of 105 kilometers per hour (kph) and gusts of 135 kph. Forecasters said the storm was expected to slam into a Batangas provincial town about 110 kilometers south of Manila by nightfall. Although considerably weaker from its peak power, the storm remains potentially dangerous and could still whip storm surges that could overwhelm coastal villages, they said. Ruby, which made landfall in Eastern Samar late Saturday, was moving slowly at 10 kph and could dump heavy rain that could possibly trigger landslides and flash floods, according to forecasters. Traumatized by the death and destruction from Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) last year, more than 1 million people fled to emergency shelters and safer grounds. Many have started to troop back home after the typhoon had blown past their provinces, Philippine Red Cross secretary general Gwendolyn Pang said. “The worst is over for them. It’s a big relief because they really got scared of this typhoon with Haiyan in their minds,” Pang said. “And there are still areas bracing for the storm like Manila.”  READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: ALMOST 1 MILLION AFFECTED BY ‘RUBY’; METRO MANILA BRACES FOR HOWLER 

DEC 8 TWO persons, including a one-year-old girl, have died while 900,000 persons in seven regions were affected as typhoon “Ruby” tore homes apart and sent huge waves crashing through coastal communities when it slammed into Eastern Samar last Saturday night. At least 800,000 of the affected persons were in evacuation centers, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Council said yesterday. After initially making landfall in Dolores town in Eastern Samar, Ruby weakened after making landfall in Masbate but a number of provinces remained under storm signal warnings, including Metro Manila which was under signal No. 1 as of 5 p.m. yesterday. Based on its speed and direction as of 4 p.m. yesterday, Ruby is expected to be felt in Metro Manila. It is projected to make landfall tomorrow in Mindoro Island, the closest it will get to Metro Manila, according to weather forecaster Anthony Lucero. All local government units in the metropolis have suspended today’s classes. In Caloocan, suspended are classes in pre-school, elementary, and high school in public and private schools. Classes in all levels in public and private schools are also suspended in Manila, Quezon City, Pasay, Valenzuela, Navotas, Pasig, Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Pateros, Malabon, San Juan, Marikina, Las Piñas, Mandaluyong, Makati, and Taguig. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Waning Ruby makes 4th landfall; 21 dead  

7:46 P.M. MONDAY ---A waning Tropical Storm Ruby slammed into Laiya, Batangas at 5:45 p.m. after it earlier left at least 21 people dead and forced more than a million people into shelters in many parts of Bicol and the Visayas regions. While the worst was over in Eastern and Central Visayas regions where the sun peeked Monday after days of grim weather, Manila and outlying provinces braced as Ruby blew nearer with maximum sustained winds of 85 kilometer per hour and gusts of 100 kph. Although it has weakened to 85 kph, Ruby still dumped rains in Batangas and nearby provinces while heading toward west northwest. Although considerably weaker from its peak power, the storm remains potentially dangerous and could still whip storm surges that could overwhelm coastal villages, weather forecasters said. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: ‘Ruby’ weakens; Metro Manila braces for rains, storm surges  

6:07 A.M. MONDAY ---PHOTO: Strong waves from Typhoon Hagupit hit the shores of Legazpi, Albay province, eastern Philippines on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. Typhoon Hagupit knocked out power in entire coastal provinces, mowed down trees and sent more than 650,000 people into shelters before it weakened Sunday, sparing the central Philippines a repetition of unprecedented devastation by last year’s storm. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) MANILA, Philippines—Typhoon “Ruby” (international name: Hagupit) has slightly weakened as it traversed the Sibuyan Sea, now packing maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour (kph) from 140 kph and gusts of up to 150 kph from 170 kph, the state weather bureau said Monday morning. Jori Loiz, weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Administration (Pagasa), in its 5 a.m weather bulletin, warned that people should remain vigilant despite Ruby’s weakened intensity. Loiz said that Metro Manila will feel Ruby’s wrath from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday.

ALSO: Reckoning with ‘Ruby’ Big casualties avoided through massive evacuation 

PHOTO: A ‘HAGUPIT’ NAMED ‘RUBY’ (EPA) — Filipino residents wade through floodwaters while dodging fallen posts and high-tension wires in Borongan, Eastern Samar, a province directly hit by typhoon ‘Ruby’ (international name: ‘Hagupit’) over the weekend. Inset: A resident tries to salvage belongings from a house torn down by the typhoon, also in Borongan. Typhoon “Ruby” (international codename: “Hagupit”) knocked out power in entire coastal provinces, mowed down trees and power lines, and sent more than 650,000 people into shelters, but Filipinos emerged wiser from last year’s devastation by super-typhoon “Yolanda” (“Haiyan”) and reckoned with the storm as it weakened yesterday, leaving no major damage or big casualty figures. Ruby slammed into Dolores town in Eastern Samar late Saturday and lost strength as it barreled westward across a string of island provinces. It was packing maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour and gusts of 170 kph, considerably weaker from its peak power but still a potentially deadly storm, according to forecasters. Reports yet to be verified by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said four people had died directly related to Ruby’s onslaught. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services (PAGASA) said that typhoon Ruby has slightly weakened with maximum sustained winds of 160 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 190 kph and is forecasted to move west northwest at 15 kph.  PAGASA Weather forecaster Jori Loiz said at 8am yesterday the eye of typhoon Ruby was located at 70 kilometers west northwest of Catbalongan or 85 kilometers southwest of Masbate City. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Millions hunker down in Philippine capital ahead of storm  

Dec. 08, 2014 at 12:46pm --PHOTO: Millions of people in the Philippine capital hunkered down Monday as a major storm churned towards the megacity, after killing at least two people and destroying thousands of homes on remote islands. However Hagupit weakened from a typhoon as it moved slowly across the central Philippines, fuelling cautious optimism the disaster-weary Southeast Asian nation may avoid another calamity involving hundreds of deaths. In Metro Manila, a sprawling coastal megapolis of 12 million people that regularly endures deadly flooding, well-drilled evacuation efforts went into full swing as forecasters warned of heavy rain from dusk. "We are on 24-hour alert for floods and storm surges... it's the flooding that we are worried about," Joseph Estrada, mayor of Manila, the original city of two million within Metro Manila, told AFP. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Palace defends motorcycle-driving Mar Roxas without a helmet 

Mar Roxas falls from motorcycle during an inspection of damages in Taft, Samar island. #RubyPH photo by EPA #RStream 8:16 AM - 7 Dec 2014 MANILA - Malacanang urged the public not to give color to what happened to Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas during his rounds in Samar on Sunday. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Roxas had no other means to go around in devastated areas, except through a motorcycle. A photo that has gone viral showed Roxas falling off his motorcycle. Some netizens called the attention of Roxas for not wearing a helmet. Valte noted some areas were not passable to big vehicles, especially after typhoon Ruby barreled through the area and toppled trees and other infrastructure. “The trip from Borongan to Dolores is 65 kilometers. Matagal ho nilang narating dahil nga marami nga hong kini-clear. And sometimes the mode of transportation is the only way to be able to move forward,” she said. She said Roxas’ companions also had to use motorcycles. She said the public should be thankful nothing untoward happened to Roxas. “Sana huwag na po nating bigyan ng kulay. Kawawa na nga ho ‘yung tao nandun na at sumemplang na nga ho at pasalamat po tayo -- pasalamat po kami, at least, hindi ho nasaktan si Secretary Mar,” she said. She said the public should just focus on clearing operations. THIS IS THE FULL REPROT.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

‘Ruby’ weakens but leaves 21 dead; Worst is over for Visayas


Fisherfolk secure their fishing boats at the coastal area in Parañaque City on Sunday, December 7, in preparation for Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit) that will start affecting Metro Manila on Monday. Danny Pata

LEGAZPI CITY, DECEMBER 8, 2014 (INQUIRER)  Associated Press 5:24 PM | Monday - Typhoon “Ruby” weakened into a tropical storm Monday, leaving at least 21 people dead, forcing more than a million people into shelters but sparing most of the Visayas region still haunted by last year’s monster storm.

While the worst was over in central island provinces, where the sun peeked Monday after days of stormy weather, the bustling capital, Manila, and outlying provinces braced as Ruby blew nearer with maximum sustained winds of 105 kilometers per hour (kph) and gusts of 135 kph.

Forecasters said the storm was expected to slam into a Batangas provincial town about 110 kilometers south of Manila by nightfall. Although considerably weaker from its peak power, the storm remains potentially dangerous and could still whip storm surges that could overwhelm coastal villages, they said.

Ruby, which made landfall in Eastern Samar late Saturday, was moving slowly at 10 kph and could dump heavy rain that could possibly trigger landslides and flash floods, according to forecasters.

Traumatized by the death and destruction from Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) last year, more than 1 million people fled to emergency shelters and safer grounds. Many have started to troop back home after the typhoon had blown past their provinces, Philippine Red Cross secretary general Gwendolyn Pang said.

“The worst is over for them. It’s a big relief because they really got scared of this typhoon with Haiyan in their minds,” Pang said. “And there are still areas bracing for the storm like Manila.”

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said more than 5,000 residents of a shantytown on the edge of Manila Bay have been evacuated due to possible storm surges.

“We’ve prepared and trained for this,” Estrada told The Associated Press, adding his greatest fear was widespread flooding. Metropolitan Manila has a population of more than 12 million people.

Like villagers in the Visayas, Estrada said Manila residents were readily moving to safety because of haunting memories of Yolanda.

The strongest typhoon on record to hit land, Yolanda’s tsunami-like storm surges, leveled entire villages and left more than 7,300 people dead or missing in November last year.

Ruby left at least 21 people dead, including 16 villagers who separately drowned in Eastern Samar province, where the typhoon made its first landfall, according to the Philippine Red Cross.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has reported only five deaths, including three people who died of hypothermia, saying it was still verifying other reported casualties.

Displaced villagers have been asked to return home from emergency shelters in provinces where the danger posed by the typhoon had waned, including Albay, where more than half a million people were advised to leave evacuation sites.

Nearly 12,000 villagers, however, will remain in government shelters in Albay because their homes lie near a restive volcano.

While officials expressed relief that the typhoon had not caused major damage, they warned that Ruby was still on course to barrel into Southern Luzon, near Manila, before starting to blow away Tuesday into the West Philippine Sea.


FROM MALAYA

ALMOST 1M AFFECTED BY ‘RUBY’; METRO MANILA BRACES FOR HOWLER December 08, 2014  BY VICTOR REYES AND ANGELA LOPEZ DE LEON

TWO persons, including a one-year-old girl, have died while 900,000 persons in seven regions were affected as typhoon “Ruby” tore homes apart and sent huge waves crashing through coastal communities when it slammed into Eastern Samar last Saturday night.

At least 800,000 of the affected persons were in evacuation centers, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Council said yesterday.

After initially making landfall in Dolores town in Eastern Samar, Ruby weakened after making landfall in Masbate but a number of provinces remained under storm signal warnings, including Metro Manila which was under signal No. 1 as of 5 p.m. yesterday.

Based on its speed and direction as of 4 p.m. yesterday, Ruby is expected to be felt in Metro Manila. It is projected to make landfall tomorrow in Mindoro Island, the closest it will get to Metro Manila, according to weather forecaster Anthony Lucero.

All local government units in the metropolis have suspended today’s classes.

In Caloocan, suspended are classes in pre-school, elementary, and high school in public and private schools. Classes in all levels in public and private schools are also suspended in Manila, Quezon City, Pasay, Valenzuela, Navotas, Pasig, Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Pateros, Malabon, San Juan, Marikina, Las Piñas, Mandaluyong, Makati, and Taguig.

The Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has ordered barangay officials of Baseco Compound, Parola Compound, and Isla Puting Bato in Tondo to move residents to temporary evacuation centers in Del Pan, Baseco and Intramuros because of the possibility of a storm surge.

Also ordered suspended were classes in the provinces of Cavite, Rizal, Quezon, Cebu, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Laguna, and Oriental Mindoro; the towns of Busuanga, Coron, and Cullion in Palawan; and some areas in the Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, and Central Visayas.

Ruby, as of 4 p.m. yesterday, was some 40 km west of Masbate City or Aroroy town in Masbate with maximum sustained winds of 140 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 170 kph. It was forecast to move west northwest at 10 kph.

If it does not change track and speed, Ruby will cross Sibuyan Island before dawn today and make landfall in Mindoro Island tomorrow. Ruby will likely exit Thursday morning.

Under signal No. 3 as of 5 p.m. yesterday were Masbate, Ticao Island, Burias Island, Marinduque, Romblon, and Oriental Mindoro. Under signal No. 2 were Sorsogon, Albay, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Lubang Island, Quezon, Occidental Mindoro, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Northern Samar, Samar, Biliran, Aklan, Capiz, Northern Cebu including Cebu City, Bantayan Island, and Camotes Island.

Aside from Metro Manila, also under signal No. 1 are Zambales, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, Metro Manila, Rizal, Catanduanes, Northern Palawan, Iloilo, Antique, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, and the rest of Cebu.

The weather bureau estimated rainfall within the 500-km diameter of the cyclone from 10 to 30 millimeters per hour, which is classified as “heavy to torrential.”

Lucero said Ruby weakened after making landfall in Cataingan town in Masbate at around 9 a.m. yesterday.

Its maximum sustained winds weakened from Saturday afternoon’s 175 kph to 140 kph yesterday afternoon. Its gustiness also dropped to 170 kph from 210 kph.

Lucero said Ruby might regain strength when it reaches the West Philippine Sea.

The NDRRMC said that of yesterday, 11 provinces were experiencing power outages, namely Albay, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon (all province-wide); parts of Quezon, Iloilo, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Leyte and Southern Leyte; and Iriga City in Camarines Sur, said Alexander Pama, NDRRMC executive director.

Nine road sections in Bicol and Central Visayas were closed due to flooding, landslides, and fallen trees. Ten other roads were either not passable or hardly passable, Pama said.

Maj. Emmanuel Garcia, chief of the military’s 7th Civil Relations Group, said three to five-meter storm surges were experienced in Bulusan, Sorsogon Saturday night but there were no reported casualties.

FATALITIES FROM ILOILO

Pama, in a press briefing, identified the fatalities as Thea Rojo, 1, of Balasan, Iloilo, and Ernesto Baylon, 55, of Estancia, Iloilo. Both died of hypothermia.

The Office of Civil Defense-Western Visayas earlier reported three deaths from Ruby – Rojo, Baylon, and Nelda Dadles Alberio of Ajuy, Iloilo who, it said, died of pre-eclampsia, a complication of pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure.

After validation, the NDRRMC did not include Alberio in its official list of fatalities. It said she died of complications arising from a caesarian operation.

Pama said Ruby has affected 195,537 families (about 902,300 persons) in the Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, and Caraga regions.

Of the number, 192,951 families are being served inside and outside evacuation centers.

Pama said authorities are concentrating on clearing roads so they can deliver relief goods to evacuees and other supplies.

TACLOBAN SPARED

Alfred Romualdez, mayor of Tacloban City, said although more than 48,000 had fled to shelters, damage to the city appeared to have been minor.

“Thank God, the typhoon spared us and we have no reported casualties,” Romualdez told Reuters. “By the end of the day we expect the people to return to their homes from shelter areas.”

There were more than 1.2 million people crowding over 1,500 evacuation centers across the central Philippines, said Gwendolyn Pang, secretary general of the Philippine Red Cross, adding local governments were providing the evacuees’ basic needs.

But there were worries on sanitation and the impact on health of the evacuees in cramped spaces especially in urban areas.

“The critical issue is in evacuation centers where there is a high number of evacuees,” said Social Work Secretary Corazon Soliman. “We are concerned that the congestion will cause more threat on health.”

Lyndon Lee Suy, spokesman of the Department of Health, warned evacuees against common illnesses in evacuation centers like coughs and colds, acute gastroenteritis, skin and eye infections, measles, dengue, and hepatitis A, which he said could be easily transmitted in “compressed living conditions.”

He also discouraged the public from wading in flood waters, which can cause injuries and diseases like leptospirosis and lacerations and can also lead to electrocution and even snake bites.

The Pope Francis Center for the Poor in Palo, Leyte is sheltering about 100 persons displaced by Ruby.

The center is set to be blessed by Pope Francis when he visits the province on January 17. Its construction was financed by the Vatican as part of its efforts to help the survivors of typhoon “Yolanda” which hit the country in November last year. – With Gerard Naval, Evan Orias, Jocelyn Montemayor, Raymond Africa, Jay Chua and Reuters


FROM THE INQUIRER

Waning Ruby makes 4th landfall; 21 dead INQUIRER.net 7:46 PM | Monday, December 8th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines – A waning Tropical Storm Ruby slammed into Laiya, Batangas at 5:45 p.m. after it earlier left at least 21 people dead and forced more than a million people into shelters in many parts of Bicol and the Visayas regions.

While the worst was over in Eastern and Central Visayas regions where the sun peeked Monday after days of grim weather, Manila and outlying provinces braced as Ruby blew nearer with maximum sustained winds of 85 kilometer per hour and gusts of 100 kph.

Although it has weakened to 85 kph, Ruby still dumped rains in Batangas and nearby provinces while heading toward west northwest. Although considerably weaker from its peak power, the storm remains potentially dangerous and could still whip storm surges that could overwhelm coastal villages, weather forecasters said.

Other related developments:

Over 1, 000 families from the Baseco compound in Tondo, Manila have been evacuated in anticipation of the storm. As of 6:10 p.m. more schools and local governments announced suspension of classes and work for Tuesday.

These are: METRO MANILA

All levels

CALOOCAN CITY (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
LAS PIÑAS CITY (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
MAKATI CITY (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
MALABON CITY (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
MANDALUYONG CITY (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
MANILA (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
MARIKINA CITY (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
 MUNTINLUPA CITY (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
NAVOTAS CITY (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
PARAÑAQUE CITY (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
PASAY CITY (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
PASIG CITY (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
PATEROS (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
QUEZON CITY (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
SAN JUAN CITY (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
TAGUIG CITY (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
VALENZUELA CITY (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)

PROVINCES

All levels

BATANGAS
CAVITE
LAGUNA
QUEZON
RIZAL
BULACAN (PULILAN, BOCAUE, CALUMPIT, SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, MEYCAUAYAN, STA. MARIA, HAGONOY AND MALOLOS)
NOTE: No work at UP MANILA and Ateneo Loyola heights campus

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council warned of possible floods in the National Capital Region, especially in its eastern portion and in the Rizal province, due to the expected heavy to intense rains to be brought by Ruby on Monday night. The military has started to mobilize its assets and personnel for rehabilitation and relief efforts in areas worst hit by Ruby. – The Philippine Airlines on Monday said it would begin normal operations by noon of Dec. 9 when Ruby is expected to exit Manila.

Officials have expressed relief that the typhoon had not caused major damage.

Traumatized by the death and destruction from Typhoon Yolanda last year, more than 1 million people fled to emergency shelters and safer ground. Many have started to troop back home after the typhoon had blown past their provinces, Philippine Red Cross Secretary-General Gwendolyn Pang said.

“The worst is over for them. It’s a big relief because they really got scared of this typhoon with Yolanda in their minds,” Pang said.

The strongest typhoon on record to hit land, Yolanda’s tsunami-like storm surges, leveled entire villages and left more than 7,300 people dead or missing in November last year.

Ruby left at least 21 people dead, including 16 villagers who drowned in Eastern Samar province, where the typhoon made its first landfall, according to the Philippine Red Cross. The government disaster-response agency has reported only five deaths, including three people who died of hypothermia, saying it was still verifying other reported casualties.

Displaced villagers have been asked to return home from emergency shelters in provinces where the danger posed by the typhoon had waned, including Albay province, where more than half a million people were advised to leave evacuation sites.

Nearly 12,000 villagers, however, will remain in government shelters in Albay because their homes lie near a restive volcano. With reports from Associated Press, Frances Mangosing, Maila Ager, Tetch Torres


FROM THE INQUIRER

‘Ruby’ weakens; Metro Manila braces for rains, storm surges Aries Joseph Hegina @inquirerdotnet INQUIRER.net 6:07 AM | Monday, December 8th, 2014


Strong waves from Typhoon Hagupit hit the shores of Legazpi, Albay province, eastern Philippines on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. Typhoon Hagupit knocked out power in entire coastal provinces, mowed down trees and sent more than 650,000 people into shelters before it weakened Sunday, sparing the central Philippines a repetition of unprecedented devastation by last year’s storm. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

MANILA, Philippines—Typhoon “Ruby” (international name: Hagupit) has slightly weakened as it traversed the Sibuyan Sea, now packing maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour (kph) from 140 kph and gusts of up to 150 kph from 170 kph, the state weather bureau said Monday morning.

Jori Loiz, weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Administration (Pagasa), in its 5 a.m weather bulletin, warned that people should remain vigilant despite Ruby’s weakened intensity.

Loiz said that Metro Manila will feel Ruby’s wrath from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday.

Signal No. 3 was hoisted over Burias, Marinduque, Romblon, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, Southern Quezon and Lubang Island.

Signal No. 2 was raised over Masbate, Ticao Island, Calamian Group of Islands, Bulacan, Bataan, Northern Quezon, Rizal, Metro Manila, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Semirara Island, Aklan and Capiz.

Meanwhile, Biliran, Bantayan Island, Zambales, Sorsogon, Albay, Polilio Island,Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga, Catanduanes, Northern Palawan, Cuyo, Northern Samar, Iloilo and Antique were placed under Signal No. 1.

The typhoon maintains its sluggish pace of 10 kph in a west northwest direction and is expected to make its third landfall in the vicinity of Northern Mindoro between 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, bringing moderate to heavy rains within its 450 km diameter.

As of 4 a.m. Monday, Ruby was last seen at 110 km northwest of Masbate City.


FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Reckoning with ‘Ruby’ Big casualties avoided through massive evacuation by Elena L. Aben and AP December 8, 2014 (updated)


A ‘HAGUPIT’ NAMED ‘RUBY’ (EPA) — Filipino residents wade through floodwaters while dodging fallen posts and high-tension wires in Borongan, Eastern Samar, a province directly hit by typhoon ‘Ruby’ (international name: ‘Hagupit’) over the weekend. Inset: A resident tries to salvage belongings from a house torn down by the typhoon, also in Borongan.

Typhoon “Ruby” (international codename: “Hagupit”) knocked out power in entire coastal provinces, mowed down trees and power lines, and sent more than 650,000 people into shelters, but Filipinos emerged wiser from last year’s devastation by super-typhoon “Yolanda” (“Haiyan”) and reckoned with the storm as it weakened yesterday, leaving no major damage or big casualty figures.

Ruby slammed into Dolores town in Eastern Samar late Saturday and lost strength as it barreled westward across a string of island provinces. It was packing maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour and gusts of 170 kph, considerably weaker from its peak power but still a potentially deadly storm, according to forecasters.

Reports yet to be verified by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said four people had died directly related to Ruby’s onslaught.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services (PAGASA) said that typhoon Ruby has slightly weakened with maximum sustained winds of 160 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 190 kph and is forecasted to move west northwest at 15 kph.

 PAGASA Weather forecaster Jori Loiz said at 8am yesterday the eye of typhoon Ruby was located at 70 kilometers west northwest of Catbalongan or 85 kilometers southwest of Masbate City.

Between Saturday and today (Monday) typhoon Ruby made six landfalls in Dolores, Eastern Samar (Saturday, between 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.); Masbate province (Sunday, between 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.); Sibuyan Island (Sunday, between 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.); Romblon (Sunday, between 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.); Tablas Island (Sunday, between 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.) and Oriental Mindoro (Monday, between 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.)

PAGASA said there are 48 areas still under public storm warning signal (PSWS).

The areas under signal number 3 (winds of 101 to 185 kph) include Romblon, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate, Burias Island and Ticao Island in Luzon; Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar province, Leyte and Biliran in the Visayas.

Those under signal number 2 (winds of 61 to 100 kph) include Laguna, Batangas, Camarines Norte, Southern Quezon, Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro in Luzon; Northern Antique, Aklan, Semirara group of islands, Capiz, Northern Iloilo, Northern Cebu including Cebu City, Bantayan and Camotes Island and Southern Leyte in the Visayas.

Traumatized by super-typhoon “Yolanda’s massive death and destruction last year in the central region that’s being partly whipped by Ruby, more than 650,000 people readily fled to about 1,000 emergency shelters and safer ground.

ZERO CASUALTY TARGET

“At this point it’s good news, we do not have reports of validated, verified and confirmed figures on casualties either in deaths or injuries,” NDRRMC executive director Alexander Pama said in a press briefing.

“Alam naman po natin, sigurado naman yan merong mga nasugatan but as of this hour we don’t have reports of confirmed and validated casualties,” he added.

NDRRMC spokesperson Mina Marasigan, on the other hand, attributed this (reports on zero casualties so far), to prompt government action in implementing preemptive evacuation in areas expected to be hit by Ruby.

DEATHS

In Iloilo, three people reportedly died and three fishermen were reported missing.

According to Jerry Bionat, executive director of Iloilo Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), 65-year-old Ernesto Baylon of Estancia and one-year-old Thea Rojo of Balasan both died of hypothermia while Jenelyn Castor of Ajuy town died of eclampsia. Rojo came from the evacuation center and brought to the hospital where she died while Baylon and the others died in their houses.

Department of Health Acting Secretary Janette Garin said there were no casulaties who died in evacuation centers. She also mentioned of one who died of heart attack in the midst of typhoon Ruby.

Lt. Commander Dominador Senador III, Iloilo commander of Philippine Coast Guard (PCG-Iloilo), said three fishermen are missing off the coast of Concepcion town.

In Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte, a miner was killed after a mining tunnel collapsed as heavy rains started to fall late Friday in Sitio Seron, Barangay Del Pilar. Local police identified the fatality as Omar Curantao Lumendas, 38.

EVACUEES

Data released by the NDRRMC indicated that 192,951 families or 902,321 individuals in typhoon affected provinces are beingserved inside and outside evacuation centers.

Western Samar had the biggest number of evacuees, with 54.545 families or 272,725 persons.

In Southern Leyte, reports reaching the NDRRC operations center indicate that 2,352 families or 11,760 persons have been evacuated.

The total number of evacuees, however, could reach one million as latest information from Sorsogon showed that 51,495 families or 229,865 persons from the province have fled their homes because of Ruby. NDRRMC figures placed the number of evacuees in Sorsogon at only 1,022 families or 5,144 persons as of Sunday morning.

Power outages were reported in at least 83 areas in regions 4A, 6, and 8.

TOO CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS

The government, backed by the 120,000-strong military, launched massive preparations to attain a zero-casualty target.

“It’s too early to tell,” Philippine Red Cross Secretary-General Gwendolyn Pang told The Associated Press (AP). “Let’s cross our fingers that it will stay that way. It’s too close to Christmas.”

Nearly a dozen countries led by the United States and the European Union have pledged to help in case of a major disaster, disaster-response agency chief Alexander Pama said.

Authorities were verifying reports of some deaths but none has been confirmed so far, Pama told a news conference.

While authorities have expressed relief so far, they were quick to warn that RubyHagupit was still on course to barrel across three major central islands before starting to blow away Tuesday into the South China Sea.

Several typhoon-lashed eastern villages isolated by downed telephone and power lines were out of contact, Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman said.

THROWBACK TACLOBAN

In Tacloban city, where Haiyan’s tsunami-like storm surges and killer winds left thousands of people dead and leveled entire villages, no deaths have been reported after it was grazed by Hagupit.

Television footage showed shallow floods, damaged shanties and ripped off store signs and tin roofs Sunday, but the city of more than 200,000 people, which earned the pity of the world after last year’s devastation, appeared to have escaped any major damage.

Rhea Estuna, a 29-year-old mother of one, fled to a Tacloban evacuation center as early as Thursday and waited in fear as Hagupit’s wind and rains lashed the school, where she and her family sought refuge. When she peered outside Sunday, she said she saw a starkly different aftermath compared to the horror of Haiyan’s aftermath.

“There were no bodies scattered on the road, no big mounds of debris,” Estuna told AP by cellphone. “Thanks to God this typhoon wasn’t as violent.”

BEST TEACHER

Army troops deployed to supermarkets and major roads in provinces in the typhoon’s path to prevent looting and chaos and clear debris, all of which slowed the government’s response last year.

Unlike in past years, many people readily left high-risk communities now, Soliman said.

“Yolanda was the best teacher of all,” Soliman said. “People did not need much convincing to move to safety. In fact many of them volunteered to go.”

STAY CALM AND VIGILANT

In Manila, President Aquino has ordered authorities to ensure a steady supply of food and other relief assistance in places affected by typhoon Ruby while keeping them on high alert until the powerful storm has passed.

The President also appealed to the public to remain calm and vigilant as Ruby pounds other parts of the country, according to his deputy spokeswoman Abigail Valte.

“The national government continues to be on alert and is constantly monitoring both the ground situation and supply coordination efforts,” Valte said over government radio.

“The President gave them (National Government Frontline Team) specific orders on the quickness and swiftness of damage assessment, at kung ano ho ‘yung mga kailangan nating resources na mailagay doon sa mga areas affected [and determine the resources needed in the affected areas],” Valte added.

Valte also said the government is prepared to tap its contingency and calamity funds in case there is a need to augment existing resources needed for the relief operations following the onslaught of Ruby.

“We’ll know in the coming days. Mayroon pa naman ho tayong contingency fund, mayroon pa ho tayong calamity fund, at ‘yan ho ‘yung mga dahilan kung bakit mayroon ho tayong ganitong mga pondo para makapaglabas po agad, para mabigyan ng ayuda ‘yung ating mga lokal na pamahalaan. So far, wala pa naman nag-augment] [We have the contingency fund, calamity fund and these are the reasons why we have this type of funds so they can be released immediately to provide assistance to local government units. So far, there is no need to augment],” Valte said.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had earlier released P4.69 billion to various government agencies for the Quick Response Funds (QRFs) in anticipation of Ruby’s destructive force. These are standby funds that can be accessed in times of emergencies or disasters.

CLASSES SUSPENDED

The Department of Education (DepEd) has announced the suspension of classes today in several areas.

In its Facebook Page, DepEd announced that there will be no classes in all levels in Cavite, Quezon, Rizal Province, Oriental Mindoro, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte and Talisay, Lapu Lapu, Mandaue, and Carcar City, all in Region 7.

In Metro Manila, there will also be no classes in Paranaque, Pasay, Navotas, Valenzuela, Pasig City, Muntinlupa, Pateros, Quezo, Makati, Marikina, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Las Pinas and Malabon.

SIGNAL NO. 2 IN MM?

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said that public storm warning signal number 2 may be hoisted in Metro Manila.

Dr. Landrico Dalida of PAGASA said that while the center of typhoon Ruby will not directly hit the metropolis, officials and the residents should still be on alert and should to take necessary precautions.

CLEARING OPERATIONS

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio P. Catapang, Jr. said troops who were earlier deployed for disaster response mission are already conducting clearing of road to pave way for relief operations.

“Our AFP responders are strategically located and are now conducting road clearing operations along the major thoroughfares and more specifically the one in Borongan and Catarman (Eastern Samar),” said Catapang.

Catapang further said that the LT507, a cargo boat, is now in Cebu waiting for the weather to clear so it could bring supplies and materials and other resources needed for Samar and other areas that affected by the typhoon.

MMDA RESPONSE

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has deployed flood control teams and equipment in flood-prone areas in the metropolis.

Emma Quiambao, MMDA Flood Control and Sewerage Management Officer, said they have deployed 162 personnel in flood prone areas in critical areas in the cities of Quezon, Manila, Makati, Pasig, Taguig, Parañaque, Mandaluyong, among others.

The personnel came from the agency’s Flood Control and Sewerage Management Office (FCSMO) and Metro Parkway Clearing Group (MPCG).

The flood control team are ready with floating mobile pumps, submersible pumps, water trucks, trailer pumps, vacuum trucks.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino also said they are now on “red alert”status, prepared to deploy 600 more personnel for emergency response and relief operation. (With reports from Chito A. Chavez, Genalyn D. Kabiling, Anna Liza Villas Alavaren, Charina Clarisse L. Echaluce and Roy Mabasa)


FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Millions hunker down in Philippine capital ahead of storm By AFP | Dec. 08, 2014 at 12:46pm Manila | Monday 12/8/2014 by Joel GUINTO


Evacuees are seen at the Government Elementary Shcool turn into an evacuation center in Manila on December 8, 2014. Greenpeace global chief Kumi Naidoo said increasingly violent storms hitting the Philippines showed the world had to act on climate change, as Typhoon Hagupit(Ruby) barrelled across the country. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO

Millions of people in the Philippine capital hunkered down Monday as a major storm churned towards the megacity, after killing at least two people and destroying thousands of homes on remote islands.

However Hagupit weakened from a typhoon as it moved slowly across the central Philippines, fuelling cautious optimism the disaster-weary Southeast Asian nation may avoid another calamity involving hundreds of deaths.

In Metro Manila, a sprawling coastal megapolis of 12 million people that regularly endures deadly flooding, well-drilled evacuation efforts went into full swing as forecasters warned of heavy rain from dusk.

"We are on 24-hour alert for floods and storm surges... it's the flooding that we are worried about," Joseph Estrada, mayor of Manila, the original city of two million within Metro Manila, told AFP.

Thousands of people, mostly the city's poorest residents who live in shanty homes along the coast and riverbanks, crammed into schools and other government evacuation centres across the megacity on Monday.

Schools were also suspended, the stock market was closed, many office and government workers were told to stay at home, and dozens of commercial flights were cancelled.

- Prepared -

The preparations were part of a massive effort led by President Benigno Aquino to ensure minimum deaths, after 7,350 people died when Super Typhoon Haiyan(Yolanda) devastated large parts of the central Philippines in November last year.

Millions of people in communities that were directly in the path of Hagupit(Ruby) over the weekend were sent into evacuation centres or ordered to remain in their homes.

The storm, the strongest to hit the Philippines this year with wind gusts of 210 kilometres (130 miles) an hour when it made landfall, caused massive destruction in remote farming and fishing towns.

Thousands of homes were destroyed, power lines were torn down, landslides choked roads, and flood waters up to one-storey high flowed through some towns.

Despite the damage, the government had by Monday morning confirmed just two deaths and there was widespread optimism that the intense focus on evacuations had saved many lives.

"All reports from affected areas have yet to come but we remain hopeful that more people have been spared," presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte told AFP.

"The common factor between them is that preemptive evacuation was carried out and warnings by authorities were taken seriously."

In Tacloban, a city of 220,000 people that was one of the worst-hit during Haiyan, authorities said there were no casualties over the weekend despite fierce winds that destroyed homes.

"There is a collective sigh of relief... we were better prepared after Yolanda," Tacloban vice mayor Jerry Yaokasin told AFP on Sunday, referring to Haiyan by its Philippine name.

However just as crucially, Hagupit's winds were significantly weaker than Haiyan, which was the strongest storm ever recorded on land. There was also no repeat of Haiyan's tsunami-like storm surges.

Hagupit's sustained winds dropped to 140 kilometres an hour on Sunday, then continued to weaken after leaving the eastern Philippine islands and passing over the Sibuyan Sea southeast of Manila.

Its winds were down to 110 kilometres an hour on Monday morning and were expected to weaken further as it passed just south of the capital in the evening, according to local weather agency Pagasa.

However Pagasa said the winds were still capable of doing major damage to homes, and heavy rains were expected within Hagupit's 450-kilometre-wide weather front.

- Climate change -

The Philippines endures about 20 major storms a year, many of them deadly.

But scientists say the storms are becoming more violent and unpredictable because of climate change.

Greenpeace International director Kumi Naidoo called on United Nations negotiators currently meeting in Peru to take note of Hagupit and act with more urgency to hammer out a world pact on global warming.

"Nature does not negotiate. We actually have to wake up and smell the coffee," Naidoo, who is in the Philippines to "bear witness" to Hagupit, told AFP.

"We need to understand that we are running out of time."


FROM ABS-CBN

Palace defends motorcycle-driving Mar Roxas ABS-CBNnews.com Posted at 12/08/2014 2:27 PM


Mar Roxas falls from motorcycle during an inspection of damages in Taft, Samar island. #RubyPH photo by EPA #RStream 8:16 AM - 7 Dec 2014

MANILA - Malacanang urged the public not to give color to what happened to Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas during his rounds in Samar on Sunday.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Roxas had no other means to go around in devastated areas, except through a motorcycle.

A photo that has gone viral showed Roxas falling off his motorcycle.

Some netizens called the attention of Roxas for not wearing a helmet.

Valte noted some areas were not passable to big vehicles, especially after typhoon Ruby barreled through the area and toppled trees and other infrastructure.

“The trip from Borongan to Dolores is 65 kilometers. Matagal ho nilang narating dahil nga marami nga hong kini-clear. And sometimes the mode of transportation is the only way to be able to move forward,” she said.

She said Roxas’ companions also had to use motorcycles.

She said the public should be thankful nothing untoward happened to Roxas.

“Sana huwag na po nating bigyan ng kulay. Kawawa na nga ho ‘yung tao nandun na at sumemplang na nga ho at pasalamat po tayo -- pasalamat po kami, at least, hindi ho nasaktan si Secretary Mar,” she said.

She said the public should just focus on clearing operations.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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