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PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

FILIPINO-AMERICAN APP CO-FOUNDER IS FORBES' 2nd YOUNGEST BILLIONAIRE; FRAT BRO & CEO IS FIRST


OCTOBER 2 -MESSAGING APP SNAPCHAT LOGO -
Filipino-American Bobby Murphy, co-founder of popular messaging app Snapchat, made it to this year’s Forbes 400 wealthiest billionaires in the US. At the age of 27, Murphy became the world’s second-youngest billionaire, while his Snapchat co-founder and fraternity brother Evan Spiegel, 25, is the youngest, according to Forbes. Both ranked 375th in the list and each had a net worth of $1.8 billion. Murphy, whose mother hails from the Philippines, grew up in Berkeley, California and took mathematical and computational science at Stanford University where he met Spiegel. Both Murphy and Speigel developed an app called Picaboo in 2011. The two rebranded the app as Snapchat, which was initially released in 2011. It now has a value of $16 billion. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is still the richest American with a net worth of $76 billion, according to Forbes. Berkshire Hathaway chief executive Warren Buffett with $62 billion and Oracle chairman Larry Ellison with $47.5 billion are the second and third richest, Forbes said. Forbes said the 2015 edition of the list was harder than ever to join. “The price of entry this year was $1.7 billion, the highest it’s been in the 34 years that Forbes has tracked American wealth. Last year it took $1.55 billion to make the cut. Because the bar is so high, 145 US billionaires missed the list,” Forbes said. FULL REPORT

ALSO: Arroyo granted bail but to remain in detention


OCTOBER 3 -Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Although granted bail by the Court of Appeals, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will remain in detention because she is still facing another non-bailable offense.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) may also elevate to the Supreme Court (SC) its opposition to the bail granted to Arroyo, now a Pampanga congresswoman, in the electoral sabotage case filed against her before the Pasay City regional trial court. Prosecutor General Claro Arellano said the panel of prosecutors handling the case would meet next week to decide on their next move after the CA recently affirmed its ruling upholding the bail grant on Arroyo. A petition with the SC would seek reversal of the CA ruling, he explained. In a two-page resolution last month, the CA denied the DOJ’s motion for reconsideration on its earlier ruling affirming a decision of the Pasay City RTC Branch 112 allowing Arroyo to post bail. RTC Judge Jesus Mupas allowed the former president to post bail after prosecutors failed to present strong evidence against Arroyo. Through Associate Justices Elihu Ybañez, the CA said there was no new argument raised by the DOJ to convince the court to reverse its earlier ruling. READ MORE...

ALSO: House shelves bill slashing individual income, corporate tax rates,


OCTOBER 3 -House shelves bill slashing income tax
The House of Representatives will no longer tackle the proposal to reduce individual income and corporate tax rates
“We will not take it up in plenary because the bill is still with the committee on ways and means, which has not endorsed it,” Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II told reporters yesterday. The statement was issued just days after President Aquino met at Malacañang with tax cut proponents from both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Gonzales said there’s only one week of sessions to go before the House and the Senate go on their first recess since starting their third and last regular session on July 27. He said the remaining week would be devoted to discussing and approving the proposed P3.002-trillion 2016 national budget. The House is scheduled to approve the budget proposal next Friday. The three-week recess starts the next day. Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo, ways and means committee chairman, and his Senate counterpart Juan Edgardo Angara are pushing for lower individual and corporate income taxes. READ MORE...

ALSO: Traffic wreaks havoc on families, says study


OCTOBER 3 -Traffic wreaks havoc on families, says study INQUIRER FILE 
Evie Uy, 39, vaguely remembers the moment when her four sons would kiss her on the cheek in the morning before they start off for school. Like a ghost flitting by her children’s doorway at night, she was afraid to touch them lest she rouse them from sleep. It’s the typical story of a mother prevented by work from enjoying moments with her children. Except that Uy is not an overseas Filipino worker, but one of thousands of commuters perennially stuck in traffic in what has become Metro Manila’s literal version of the kalyeserye (street series). “It’s so hard,” said Uy of the daily ordeal she shares with other Filipinos working in the supposedly economic bright spot that is Metro Manila. “In the morning, I’m half-asleep, I have this passing memory of my sons saying goodbye. When I get home, they’re fast asleep…,” she said. “Our relationship has changed. We used to be very close and they had no problem opening up to me,” said Uy, who travels almost three hours a day for six days from her home in Muñoz, Quezon City, to either Makati or Taguig cities, depending on her assignment as marketing representative of David’s Salon. The mother of four—one in elementary school, two in high school, and one in college—leaves work at 9 p.m. and is lucky to reach home by 10:30 p.m. “My usual clock-in time at home these days is 12 midnight. It’s crazy. My husband, who works from home, takes care of my sons, but our relationship has also suffered. I want to leave work just so I can be with (my family), but our expenses are getting bigger,” Uy said. Edsa’s super corridor A study by the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS), led by supervising research specialist Sonny N. Domingo, indicated that “travel time [by bus] within (Edsa’s) super corridor—a 12-kilometer stretch—ranges from 18 to 138 minutes, depending on the level of traffic congestion at certain times of the day.” READ MORE...

ALSO: Tropical storm Kabayan leaves 2 dead, 31 missing
[As of 11 a.m. Friday, the storm was located at 95 kilometers northwest of Dagupan City, Pangasinan packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph as it made an exit towards the West Philippine Sea moving at 22 kph.]


OCTOBER 5 -Commuters get a ride along a flooded highway in Balagtas, Bulacan Friday, Oct. 2, 2015. Rain brought about by Tropical Storm Kabayan flooded some low-lying provinces and prompted local officials to suspend classes in all levels, including Metropolitan Manila on Friday. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Storm Kabayan (international name Mujigae) left at least two persons dead and 31 others missing in Luzon, disaster management officials said yesterday. The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Central Luzon identified the fatalities as Samuel Corcoro, 29, of Maria Aurora town in Aurora province, and Raquel Camilo, 57, of Bongabon, Nueva Ecija. Corcoro drowned while Camilo died from snakebite. Regional civil defense offices also reported that 30 of the missing persons were from Pangasinan province in Ilocos region. At least 19 of the them were among the passengers listed on 29 fishing boats reported missing. Another 10 were from a fishing vessel that sank off Dasol town at the height of the storm. The number of persons who went missing in Ilocos rose to as high as 121 last Saturday; it was eventually decreased after the local governments launched rescue operations. The OCD said the figures, as of 5:45 p.m. yesterday, are still partial as other local units continue with their response operations and have yet to submit reports. – Alexis Romero THIS IS THE FULL REPORT READ 3 RELATED REPORTS...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Filipino-American in Snapchat in billionaires’ club


MESSAGING APP SNAPCHAT LOGO

MANILA, OCTOBER 5, 2015 (PHILSTAR) Updated October 2, 2015 - 12:00am - - Filipino-American Bobby Murphy, co-founder of popular messaging app Snapchat, made it to this year’s Forbes 400 wealthiest billionaires in the US.


Bobby Murphy

At the age of 27, Murphy became the world’s second-youngest billionaire, while his Snapchat co-founder and fraternity brother Evan Spiegel, 25, is the youngest, according to Forbes.

Both ranked 375th in the list and each had a net worth of $1.8 billion.

Murphy, whose mother hails from the Philippines, grew up in Berkeley, California and took mathematical and computational science at Stanford University where he met Spiegel.

Both Murphy and Speigel developed an app called Picaboo in 2011. The two rebranded the app as Snapchat, which was initially released in 2011. It now has a value of $16 billion.


Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel. Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is still the richest American with a net worth of $76 billion, according to Forbes.

Berkshire Hathaway chief executive Warren Buffett with $62 billion and Oracle chairman Larry Ellison with $47.5 billion are the second and third richest, Forbes said.

Forbes said the 2015 edition of the list was harder than ever to join.

“The price of entry this year was $1.7 billion, the highest it’s been in the 34 years that Forbes has tracked American wealth. Last year it took $1.55 billion to make the cut. Because the bar is so high, 145 US billionaires missed the list,” Forbes said.


PHILSTAR

Arroyo to remain in detention By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 3, 2015 - 12:00am 0 35 googleplus0 0


Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

MANILA, Philippines - Although granted bail by the Court of Appeals, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will remain in detention because she is still facing another non-bailable offense.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) may also elevate to the Supreme Court (SC) its opposition to the bail granted to Arroyo, now a Pampanga congresswoman, in the electoral sabotage case filed against her before the Pasay City regional trial court.

Prosecutor General Claro Arellano said the panel of prosecutors handling the case would meet next week to decide on their next move after the CA recently affirmed its ruling upholding the bail grant on Arroyo.

A petition with the SC would seek reversal of the CA ruling, he explained.

In a two-page resolution last month, the CA denied the DOJ’s motion for reconsideration on its earlier ruling affirming a decision of the Pasay City RTC Branch 112 allowing Arroyo to post bail.

RTC Judge Jesus Mupas allowed the former president to post bail after prosecutors failed to present strong evidence against Arroyo.

Through Associate Justices Elihu Ybañez, the CA said there was no new argument raised by the DOJ to convince the court to reverse its earlier ruling.

READ MORE...

“We have carefully reviewed the arguments raised in the said motion for reconsideration and find the same to be mere reiteration of matters previously considered and found to be without merit in the decision subject of this recourse. We thus see no compelling reason to modify, reverse or set aside our previous decision,” the resolution read.

“For these reasons, the instant motion for reconsideration is hereby denied,” it added.

While Arroyo was granted bail in the poll fraud case, she remains under hospital arrest after the Sandiganbayan junked her bail petition in the separate plunder case involving the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

Raul Lambino, former counsel and spokesman for Arroyo, said the CA’s decision to grant bail for the former president was expected.

Lambino clarified he is no longer the spokesman of the Arroyo family but agreed to comment on the case as it happened when he was part of the legal team during the bail hearings.

He said the only witness presented during the bail hearing was the late Norie Unas, the former provincial administrator of Maguindanao who claimed overhearing the former President ordering the cheating.

Aside from Unas, no other witness was presented to directly link Arroyo to the alleged cheating.

Lambino explained the appellate court usually upholds the ruling of the lower court in bail petition, since the lower court determines the strength or weakness of the evidence. –Perseus Echeminada


PHILSTAR

House shelves bill slashing income tax By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 3, 2015 - 12:00am 2 41 googleplus0 0


House shelves bill slashing income tax

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives will no longer tackle the proposal to reduce individual income and corporate tax rates

“We will not take it up in plenary because the bill is still with the committee on ways and means, which has not endorsed it,” Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II told reporters yesterday.

The statement was issued just days after President Aquino met at Malacañang with tax cut proponents from both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Gonzales said there’s only one week of sessions to go before the House and the Senate go on their first recess since starting their third and last regular session on July 27.

He said the remaining week would be devoted to discussing and approving the proposed P3.002-trillion 2016 national budget.

The House is scheduled to approve the budget proposal next Friday. The three-week recess starts the next day.

Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo, ways and means committee chairman, and his Senate counterpart Juan Edgardo Angara are pushing for lower individual and corporate income taxes.

READ MORE...

The administration’s opposition to the proposal is preventing Quimbo from endorsing the bill.

He said there’s no use reporting it out if Malacañang and the Department of Finance (DOF) would oppose it, since President Aquino would just veto it even if the House and the Senate approve it.

Aquino had initially frowned upon the proposal but ordered the DOF to review it when Quimbo and Angara explained the bill and its impact on taxpayers, the economy and government revenues.

The DOF has said it would agree to lower income tax provided that lawmakers increase the value added tax (VAT) from the present 12 percent to 14 percent.

The House is not willing to adjust the VAT to 14 percent.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue has also suggested the lifting of secrecy on bank deposits and other transactions.

A group of economists led by former budget secretary Benjamin Diokno has supported the DOF proposal to increase VAT provided that individual income tax rates are reduced substantially.

The group said lower income tax would give workers more disposable income, which they can choose to save in a bank to avoid higher VAT.

It said a higher VAT would keep families from spending on non-essentials.

‘Holistic approach’

At Malacañang, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said they respect the decision of the House leadership not to tackle the proposed tax adjustment.


COLOMA

“Government has made its position clear: we believe in a holistic approach to tax reform,” he told The STAR in a text message. “We respect the views of the Speaker,” he added referring to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

Angara also said he respects the decision of the House leadership to archive his proposed measure.

“That’s their prerogative. We respect their decision. It’s a tough decision making environment they are operating in,” Angara said in a text message.

Angora, chairman of the ways and means committee and the leading proponent of a bill seeking to lower income tax rates, has never given up on the measure even though the Palace has rejected the proposal.

But he also acknowledged that tax-related measures must originate from the House of Representatives.

“I don’t think the government has no fiscal capacity to lower taxes given that the Department of Finance (DOF) is asking for a budget increase that is bigger than the P30-billion projected revenue loss once we lower our income tax,” Angara said.

From P15 billion this year, the proposed budget of the DOF, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs jumped to P50 billion next year. He said the DOF’s proposed budget for next year is 224 percent higher than last year’s.

The senator pointed out that the Congress has even expressed its openness to a compromise by simply adjusting for inflation the present tax brackets, which have not changed since 1997, instead of reducing the prevailing tax rates.

Records clear Meanwhile, Quimbo said government records show that 60 percent of professionals and 70 percent of entrepreneurs do not pay their tax dues, unlike fixed-income earners like employees.

“We have 23 million earning individuals but only 5.6 million of them pay taxes. The rest are either exempted because they are minimum wage earners or they do not pay taxes at all,” he said.

“Those receiving salary every 15th and 30th of the month are the ones with 100 percent compliance, but then again, those with minimum wage who are exempted from paying also belong here. As such, only 18 percent of the working population are paying taxes,” he said.

He added that the small tax base highlights the need for adjustments in the income tax rates to make them more fair and equitable and not too burdensome on workers who bear the brunt of paying taxes and at the same time entice other income groups like professionals to pay their share of taxes.

Under the pending income tax cut bill, those earning P180,000 and below a year would be exempt from paying taxes, while those who earn from P180,000 to P500,000 would pay nine percent.

Individuals whose yearly income is from P500,000 to P10 million would pay 17 percent, while those with more than P10 million annual income will have to pay 30 percent.


Marikina Representative Miro Quimbo PHILSTAR FILE

At present, those earning P500,000 and above are treated the same and are taxed at 30 percent.

“There should be higher tax compliance for professionals and entrepreneurs. We can’t sleep on this. The income tax rates are stuck in 1997 levels. That means that whether you are earning P500,000 or P50 million annually, you pay the same tax rate of 30 percent,” Quimbo said.

Because of the stagnant rates, he lamented that a soldier currently pays 15 to 20 percent income tax when he or she should only pay five percent, while a new teacher who earns P20,000 has to pay as much as 20 percent income tax.

“This is simply not right because the purchasing power of P20,000 now is not the same as before. You won’t be able to buy much with that. Those being hit are high school principals and mid-level managers,” he said. With Christina Mendez


INQUIRER

Traffic wreaks havoc on families, says study By: Ira P. Pedrasa @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 07:04 AM October 3rd, 2015


Traffic wreaks havoc on families, says study INQUIRER FILE

Evie Uy, 39, vaguely remembers the moment when her four sons would kiss her on the cheek in the morning before they start off for school. Like a ghost flitting by her children’s doorway at night, she was afraid to touch them lest she rouse them from sleep.

It’s the typical story of a mother prevented by work from enjoying moments with her children. Except that Uy is not an overseas Filipino worker, but one of thousands of commuters perennially stuck in traffic in what has become Metro Manila’s literal version of the kalyeserye (street series).

“It’s so hard,” said Uy of the daily ordeal she shares with other Filipinos working in the supposedly economic bright spot that is Metro Manila. “In the morning, I’m half-asleep, I have this passing memory of my sons saying goodbye. When I get home, they’re fast asleep…,” she said.

“Our relationship has changed. We used to be very close and they had no problem opening up to me,” said Uy, who travels almost three hours a day for six days from her home in Muñoz, Quezon City, to either Makati or Taguig cities, depending on her assignment as marketing representative of David’s Salon.

The mother of four—one in elementary school, two in high school, and one in college—leaves work at 9 p.m. and is lucky to reach home by 10:30 p.m. “My usual clock-in time at home these days is 12 midnight. It’s crazy. My husband, who works from home, takes care of my sons, but our relationship has also suffered. I want to leave work just so I can be with (my family), but our expenses are getting bigger,” Uy said.

Edsa’s super corridor

A study by the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS), led by supervising research specialist Sonny N. Domingo, indicated that “travel time [by bus] within (Edsa’s) super corridor—a 12-kilometer stretch—ranges from 18 to 138 minutes, depending on the level of traffic congestion at certain times of the day.”

READ MORE...

The average bus delay from Ayala to Guadalupe, all of five kilometers, was estimated at 50 minutes, while the 4.3-kilometer-Guadalupe to Aurora Blvd. route took 43 minutes.

That is, unless the usual irritants of heavy rains and the resulting floods get in the way, as it did on Sept. 8 when Uy and thousands of other Metro Manila commuters found themselves stranded on Edsa because of what many described as a “carmageddon.” The scenario was bound to be repeated when the possible mother of all carmageddons—the Christmas shopping rush—gets underway.

The same PIDS study, which covered only the bus transport sector, said the foregone wages—or the opportunity cost of wasted time among passengers on the road—amounted to a staggering P4.56 billion a year. The foregone wages of bus passengers daily along the Ayala-Guadalupe route was placed at P11.28 million, while those using the Guadalupe-Aurora corridor was P8.97 million.

New OFWs

The joke going around the business sector is that Metro Manila’s workers have now become the new OFWs, Sergio Ortiz-Luis, honorary chair of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) told the Inquirer. The reference to the overseas Filipino workers might have a lot to do with the severely constricted time that Metro workers have with their families, but the Ecop official said workers’ productivity have been affected as well by the long hours they spend on the road.

While Ecop cannot quantify the social and economic costs of traffic at this point, Ortiz-Luis admitted that even the bosses pay the price. They have to wake up earlier than usual to get to work on time, and at the very least, set an example. “We can give workers some leeway, like flexi-time, but we still can’t allow frequent tardiness,” he explained.

Diana Madelo, 26, an art director for a travel magazine, has the luxury of driving to work from Fairview to Ortigas but still finds herself stewing in traffic as choke points block her route.

“My work productivity has been affected, my energy drained,” she complained. “My boss has called me out because I’m often late (for work). Telling my boss that traffic is the problem is a lousy excuse.”

She sometimes leaves work at 9 p.m. and arrives home an hour later. But on Sept. 8, when flash floods caused monster traffic, Madelo recalled driving past “people stranded on Edsa (who) couldn’t get a ride home. Vehicles could not pass through.”

She added: “I just wanted to go home that day. I almost lost my sanity, I broke down and was crying while driving. I arrived home after more than three hours.”

Not isolated case

Hers was not an isolated case. Thousands of commuters took to social media lamenting their sorry situation, with some of them spending hours on the road and getting home just before dawn the following day. Others spent the night in cheap hotels, an out-of-pocket expenditure for many.

Madelo said she had no choice and was going to resign soon.

In a separate interview, Dr. Paul Michael R. Hernandez cited the impact of heavy traffic on the health of workers.

“Philippine traffic exposes employees to a number of hazards, but some of these hazards are specific to certain workers,” said the assistant professor at the Department of Environment and Occupational Health of the University of the Philippines in Manila.

Those using open vehicles are exposed to air pollutants, including carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, that cause respiratory problems such as bronchitis and other lung ailments, he said.

Prolonged sitting can also cause “nerve impingement especially that of the sciatic nerve, leading to discomfort or even pain in either or both legs. There can also be strain on the backbone. Commuters (on crowded buses) who stand for prolonged hours might experience muscle pains in their legs,” Hernandez said.

Stress hormones

Truck drivers are exposed to whole body vibration (WBV), or the effect of vibration on the body from the vehicle’s engine underneath their seats, he said. “WBV can cause back problems, urinary concerns and even infertility, according to some studies.”

Traffic can also elevate stress hormones. “These may manifest as increased heart rate and blood pressure, and sometimes, tension headaches,” Hernandez said.

Suggestions have been put forward to minimize the impact of traffic, including a four-day workweek, but employers, among them Ortiz-Luis, balk at the idea. “Companies have to time their operations (to coincide) with that of the government and other stakeholders,” he said.

Rickety public transport

While Ecop considers decaying urban structures and subsequent maintenance work as adding to the traffic problem, the government has trumpeted the massive developments across the metropolis as part of a booming economy and rising employment.

But analysts think otherwise and said that traffic has doused the economy’s gains, and exposed an unsafe, rickety public transport system.

According to a Japan International Cooperation Agency study, Manila has been losing P2.4 billion a day in terms of potential income because of traffic jams. This could balloon to P6 billion a day by 2030 if the government fails to put interventions in place, the study added.

“My own assessment is that infrastructure projects, real estate construction, and consumption growth (e.g., more vehicles, leisure trips, etc.)—may be representative of economic growth, but the resulting traffic congestion is a sign of mismanagement and lack of advance planning,” PIDS senior research fellow Adora Navarro said in an e-mail correspondence.

She urged the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and local government units in Metro Manila to assess the Metro’s drainage system and require private firms to conduct a flood impact analysis of their construction-related activities.

“Every time I pass by a major road construction project or a new condominium on the rise, I fear that the flood impact analysis of the construction activities is not being given serious attention,” she said.

With the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (HPG) taking over traffic management in Edsa, Ortiz-Luis said one of the many factors colluding to create major bottlenecks at Edsa had been taken off the list. “Law enforcement is doing a good job, which leaves us with public works and engineering,” he said, noting that road networks around Edsa are covered in potholes and months-old road construction projects. “It seems there is no urgency on the public works front,” said the Ecop official.

Aside from the perennial problem besetting the Metro Rail Transit and Light Rail Transit systems, there are also too many vehicles—about 80 percent of them private—plying the streets of the Metro.

Oversupply of buses

“Studies and common sense tell us that allowing too many private and half-empty public utility vehicles to service the needs of commuters (are) both costly and inefficient,” Domingo said. A study by Domingo’s team also indicated that there was a 50-percent oversupply of buses on Edsa’s super corridor.

Exhaustive discourse on how to resolve the Metro’s traffic woes has come from various groups, but Domingo quoted transport experts as saying that “what we need is to develop a good public transport system, enforce discipline on our roads, and decentralize economic activities in regions outside the National Capital Region.”

As for affected workers like Uy and Madelo, moving to areas nearer their place of work might sound like a good alternative, but there are other factors to consider, they said. Uy, for one, said her present home was near her children’s schools.

Condo developers might have gained from the situation by offering residences at convenient locations, but Ortiz-Luis said this was “at the expense of others, winning from the misery of others.”

We know the alternative courses of action to address the traffic problem, Domingo said. “Though admittedly not easy, it’s really time for us to seriously commit to a lasting solution to the issue,” she added.

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PHILSTAR

Kabayan leaves 2 dead, 31 missing By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 5, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Commuters get a ride along a flooded highway in Balagtas, Bulacan Friday, Oct. 2, 2015. Rain brought about by Tropical Storm Kabayan flooded some low-lying provinces and prompted local officials to suspend classes in all levels, including Metropolitan Manila on Friday. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Storm Kabayan (international name Mujigae) left at least two persons dead and 31 others missing in Luzon, disaster management officials said yesterday.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Central Luzon identified the fatalities as Samuel Corcoro, 29, of Maria Aurora town in Aurora province, and Raquel Camilo, 57, of Bongabon, Nueva Ecija. Corcoro drowned while Camilo died from snakebite.

Regional civil defense offices also reported that 30 of the missing persons were from Pangasinan province in Ilocos region. At least 19 of the them were among the passengers listed on 29 fishing boats reported missing. Another 10 were from a fishing vessel that sank off Dasol town at the height of the storm.

The number of persons who went missing in Ilocos rose to as high as 121 last Saturday; it was eventually decreased after the local governments launched rescue operations.

The OCD said the figures, as of 5:45 p.m. yesterday, are still partial as other local units continue with their response operations and have yet to submit reports. – Alexis Romero

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Tropical storm Kabayan hits Aurora, nearby provinces; fair weather seen By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 3, 2015 - 12:00am 0 10 googleplus0 0


Boys ride bicycles along the river bank in Marikina City as waters swelled yesterday due to heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm Kabayan. WALTER BOLLOZOS

MANILA, Philippines - Floods spawned by Tropical Storm Kabayan forced the suspension of classes in Metro Manila and neighboring areas yesterday, but beginning today the entire country will experience generally fair weather as the storm moves away from the Philippine area of responsibility.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said Kabayan was expected to exit between 11 p.m. yesterday and 1 a.m. today. PAGASA lifted all storm warning signals at 5 p.m. yesterday.

PAGASA marine meteorological services section chief Rene Paciente said partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated thunderstorms would prevail in most parts of the country this weekend.

Moderate to occasionally heavy rains were still expected yesterday over the provinces of Bataan, Zambales, Tarlac and Pangasinan as Kabayan hovered over the West Philippine Sea.

A high-pressure area located northeast of Kabayan was pushing it westward, causing the storm to move very fast. Kabayan was forecast to move west northwest at 20 kilometers per hour.

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the center of Kabayan was located at 205 kilometers northwest of Dagupan City, Pangasinan, packing winds of 75 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 90 kph.

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Aurora, other provinces affected Kabayan intensified into a storm before it made landfall over San Luis town in Aurora province yesterday.

Strong rains and winds spawned by the storm toppled trees in the province, rendering a route in Barangay Villa in Maria Aurora town impassable to motorists from Nueva Ecija and the rest of Central Luzon. Floodwaters also inundated Barangay Villa.

The storm also disrupted the construction of a two-lane bridge that will connect Aurora to Nueva Ecija and the rest of Central Luzon.

Reynaldo Alconcel, district engineer of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Aurora, said as of yesterday the remaining passable route to the province was the Pantabanagan-Canili area.

“Five road sections – one in Aurora, one in Bulacan and three in Nueva Ecija – were rendered impassable due to heavy flooding and landslide,” said Josefina Timoteo, director of the Central Luzon Regional Disaster Risk and Management Council.

In Nueva Ecija, the storm caused flashfloods and landslide in Barangay Ligaya in Gabaldon town, forcing the evacuation of 30 families. Nineteen barangays in the towns of Laur, Cuyapo, Rizal and Bongabon were still submerged yesterday.

In Bulacan, farmers had mixed reactions to the heavy rains spawned by the storm.

The downpour was a big relief for farmers whose standing rice crops were in dire need of water, while farmers whose rice crops were ready for harvest were worried the rains could deteriorate the quality of their produce.

Some farmers, on the other hand, wanted the storm to bring in more rains to fill the Angat watershed so that the Angat Dam would have enough irrigation water during the El Niño.

The Philippine Coast Guard, meanwhile, is confirming reports that seven fishermen went missing in Baler, Aurora at the height of the storm.

PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said the Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council reported sighting an empty boat in the sea. Search and rescue operation is ongoing. With Janvic Mateo, Alexis Romero, Evelyn Macairan, Manny Galvez, Ric Sapnu, Rainier Allan Ronda, Robertzon Ramirez, Non Alquitran, Jaime Laude, Ramon Lazaro

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIIN

TS ‘Kabayan’ cuts off power in Aurora, suspends Metro classes by Chito A. Chavez and PNA October 3, 2015 Share139 Tweet13 Share0 Email0 Share230


DESTRUCTIVE ‘KABAYAN’ – A resident proceeds to clear a felled narra tree, red sandalwood, which landed on top of this house in Barangay Zabali in Baler, Aurora, after typhoon ‘Kabayan’ made landfall at 1 a.m. yesterday and left a track of destruction in its wake. (Ariel P. Avendano)

Tropical Storm (TS) “Kabayan” made a landfall in Aurora Province early Friday morning while its residents were fast asleep, pummeling the area with strong winds and heavy rain that uprooted trees and toppled electric posts cutting off power supply in the entire province.

“The province-wide power outage was caused by the toppling of electric posts and uprooting of big trees, particularly in the area of San Luis town and in parts of Central Aurora,” Engineer Elson Egargue, head of the Aurora Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said.

The toppled trees in Barangay Villa rendered the alternate route to the province impassable to motorists from Nueva Ecija and the rest of Central Luzon, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Reynaldo Alconcel, DPWH Aurora district engineer, said the only remaining route to the province is the Pantabangan-Canili area.

Egargue said the Philippine Army conducted road clearing operations while other concerned agencies worked for the immediate restoration of power supply in the province.

There were no reported casualties in the province, Egargue said.

‘KABAYAN’ EXITS –As of 11 a.m. Friday, the storm was located at 95 kilometers northwest of Dagupan City, Pangasinan packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph as it made an exit towards the West Philippine Sea moving at 22 kph.

Storm signal No. 2 was hoisted over La Union and Pangasinan while storm signal No. 1 was raised over Benguet, Tarlac, Ilocos Sur, and Zambales.

Sea travel is risky over the seaboards of Northern Luzon, the weather bureau warned.

“Kabayan” is expected to be at 560 km west of Laoag City, Ilocos Norte or outside the PAR by Saturday morning.

By Sunday morning, it is forecast to be at 1,180 km west of Itbayat, Batanes and at 1,690 km west-northwest of Itbayat, Batanes, by Monday morning.

CLASSES SUSPENDED

As the storm hit land, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) issued an “orange rainfall” warning for Metro Manila, Bulacan, Zambales, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Rizal prompting local government units and the Department of Education (DepEd) to suspend classes in all levels Friday.

The orange rainfall advisory, the second in its three-stage rainfall warning system is raised in areas where rainfall is between 15 mm and 30 mm within one hour. Flooding is a definite threat in communities under the orange alert.

A yellow rainfall warning was raised in the provinces of Tarlac, Pampanga, Cavite, Batangas, Quezon. A yellow rainfall advisory is raised when the expected rainfall amount is between 7.5 mm and 15 mm within one hour and likely to continue.

Communities given this advisory are advised to be aware of the weather condition and warned that flooding may be possible in low-lying areas.

STRANDED

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported that more than 600 passengers were stranded in different ports yesterday caused by the inclement weather.

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said four flights were cancelled Friday morning due to bad weather. Among the flights cancelled were 2P 2051 (Manila-Caticlan), and 2052 (Caticlan-Manila) of PAL Express and flights DG 6227 (Manila-Caticlan) and 6228 (Caticlan-Manila) of TigerAir.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) also lifted Friday the number coding scheme in Metro Manila due to heavy rains except in Makati.

The number coding scheme or the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP) is a traffic de-congestion strategy which bans private and public utility vehicles from plying the roads on weekday peak hours based on the last digit of their license plates.

The MMDA also suspended the operation of the Pasig River Ferry system.(With reports from Anna Liza Villas Alavaren, Jenny F. Manongdo, and Merlina Hernando Malipot)

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Angat Dam water level up by 1.5 m thanks to ‘Kabayan’ by Ellalyn De Vera October 3, 2015 Share1 Tweet1 Share0 Email0 Share26

Heavy rains brought by severe tropical storm “Kabayan” (international name “Mujigae”) have raised Angat Dam’s level to 192.9 meters, which is higher by 1.5 meters than its level a day earlier.

Based on the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), rains from Kabayan made significant impact to the current water level at Angat Dam, which was only 190.7 meters last Friday.

However, the increase in water level remain insufficient to bring Angat Dam’s water level to its flood season elevation of 210-212 meters.

PAGASA climatologist Max Peralta said Angat Dam still needs a minimum of 660-millimeter of rainfall from at least three more storms to replenish the reservoir.

He said a tropical cyclone has an average 200-millimeter rainfall, which means three storms could help fill the dam. “One convective cloud or raincloud usually carries with it just 15 millimeters of rainfall, which will not help replenish water in the dam,” he added.

PAGASA projects that the Angat Watershed will be having way below normal rainfall until mid-2016 due to the prevailing El Niño event.

Kabayan has left the country’s area of responsibility early Saturday morning, and was at 425 km west of Vigan City, Ilocos Sur at around 4 a.m.

It further intensified with maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 120 kph.

PAGASA said occasional rains will still be experienced over Bataan, Zambales, and Pangasinan.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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