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WORLD FOOD DAY: Philippine food producers go hungry


OCTOBER 17 -SHE’S GOT THE LOOK Children wait for their turn to be served during a feeding program conducted by the urban poor group, Kadamay, in Barangay Payatas in Quezon city. Photo by Mike De Juan Peasant and fisherfolk protested on World Food Day on Friday, calling for genuine agrarian reform, which, they said, will solve hunger. They protested in front of the Department of Agriculture’s office in Quezon City holding placards bearing calls such as “Pagkain hindi bala! Lupa sa nagbubungkal! (Food not bullets! Land to the tiller!) A farmer carried an empty pot, to depict hunger in the countryside, where the producers are. “It is ironic that the rural people who are the primary food producers are the ones who are experiencing lack of food and drastic hunger,” said Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice chairman. “This has been a running nightmare especially for the fisherfolk and farmers all over the country.”  France said that based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), these are the top two sectors with the highest poverty incidence. Peasant groups called for the enactment of the Genuine Agrarian Reform bill (Garb), and a stop to the smuggling of imported rice. Ronald Garcia, an agricultural engineer and member of Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (Agham) said the 2015 theme for World Food Day — “Social Protection and agriculture: breaking the cycle of rural poverty” — is in sharp contrast with the situation of Philippine agriculture. Garcia criticized the 2011-2016 Food Staples Self-sufficiency Roadmap (FSSR) program of the Aquino government which targeted 100 percent rice self-sufficiency. However, he said the Philippines remains one of the top net importer of rice in the world, importing 1.6 million metric tons of rice in 2014. This year’s rice imports is projected to increase further.Free irrigation bill Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap, meanwhile, pushed for free irrigation services for farmers through House Bill 6224, or the Free Irrigation Services Bill. Irrigation is one of the primary factors for the growth of agricultural productivity, Hicap said, and food security is impossible without free irrigation service in the country. “The agriculture sector is the backbone of the national economy as the country remains agricultural, where farmers and farm workers, who comprise the vast majority of the population, till the lands for their livelihood and for the benefit of the entire nation,” Hicap said. The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) reported that as of 2014, only 57 percent of the targeted 3 million hectares had irrigation, with 1.3 million hectares still without irrigation. Hicap said the huge budget of the National Irrigation Administration does not benefit farmers. The NIA even charges for the irrigation. The proposed NIA budget was increased from P28 billion ($622 million) in 2015 to the proposed P33 billion ($709 million) for 2016. READ MORE...

ALSO strongest cyclone since 2010: Thousands flee from slow-moving Lando; More rains continue


A lineman clears cables that had fallen along Quezon Avenue as Typhoon Lando ripped through the country yesterday. MICHAEL VARCAS Typhoon Lando (international name Koppu) knocked out power and triggered landslides and floods, forcing thousands to flee as it pounded Northern and Central Luzon yesterday. Power out in many areas
Three casualties were initially reported while more than 23,000 people were evacuated from their homes, with more expected to flee as the slow-moving Lando grinds its way northward across Luzon before leaving the country as forecast on Wednesday. Two persons were reported dead in Palayan City in Nueva Ecija, the governor of the province told ANC. Gov. Aurelio Umali said he was informed of the casualties, who were retrieved from the floodwaters in the area. Umali said they have yet to identify the two individuals to validate the report, as rescue operations were still ongoing. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), however, reported only one casualty from the typhoon. NDRRMC executive director Alexander Pama said Aaron Castillo died after being pinned down by a fallen tree in Barangay Central in Quezon City yesterday. Four others were wounded in the incident. One person also died of electrocution in Sta. Ignacia, Tarlac, according to Office of Civil Defense Central Luzon deputy director Nigel Lontoc. Civil defense officials in Central Luzon are also verifying reports that three persons in Baler, Aurora and three others in Abukay, Bataan went missing. Officials also reported power and communications disruptions across Luzon in the wake of Typhoon Lando, with many roads and bridges also blocked by landslides, floods or fallen trees and power pylons. Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga said 24 of 707 distributed utility circuits were damaged and completely knocked out by the typhoon, leaving many from the provinces of Cavite, Bulacan and Rizal without electricity. The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines added it was monitoring power transmission lines in Central and Northern Luzon that were affected by Lando. Ferry services across Luzon were suspended amid rough seas while commercial aviation was also disrupted with 44 flights cancelled, with two on international routes. The NDRMMC said a total of 5,580 passengers have been stranded in various ports in the country due to the bad weather. On the other hand, local government units in Central Luzon and Metro Manila ordered the suspension of classes today. More rains Aldczar Aurelio, weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said Lando is expected to linger over Luzon until Wednesday, a day longer than earlier forecast and could mean the region would be soaked with more rain. Aurelio said the typhoon was moving slowly due its interaction with three weather systems – a tropical storm with international name Champi off the Pacific Ocean; a high pressure area over the West Philippine Sea, and a tail-end of a cold front. Lando slightly weakened from 175 kilometers per hour to 150 kph after making landfall over Casiguran, Aurora at around 1 a.m. yesterday. Lando then moved west northwest at a pace of five kph. The typhoon moved northwest over the Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija, poised to hover at the Cordillera region, prompting authorities to warn of possible flashfloods and landslides triggered by heavy rains brought by Lando. “We are strongly recommending forced evacuations in the Cordillera Administrative Region especially villages that are landslide- and flood-prone,” Pama said. READ MORE...

ALSO: TYPHOON ‘Lando’ brightens water prospects in rain-hungry Angat Dam


OCTOBER 14 -
3 DAYS OF HEAVY (Ondoy-like) RAIN  State hydrologists expect downpour from typhoon ‘Lando’ (international name: Koppu) to bring water reserve in Metro Manila’s rain-fed main water source Angat Dam closer to the 210 meters target flood season high water level (FSHWL) there. “Our calculations show such downpour can result in a four- to eight-meter rise in Angat’s water level which was at 194.16 meters only as of 6 a.m. Saturday (Oct. 17),” said Richard Orendain, senior hydrologist at State weather agency Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). He noted such rise might be possible if ‘Lando’ dumps heavy to intense rain while remaining stationary for several hours after landfalling in Aurora province but before heading northwards to extreme Northern Luzon. “If such scenario happens, it’ll be good news for Angat,” he said. What’s ideal is for Angat Dam’s water level to at least reach the FSHWL by yearend to better ensure availability of water for the following year, he noted. Data show as of 6 a.m. Saturday, Angat still needed 570 millimeters of rain so its water level can reach the FSHWL, however. Authorities said lack of precipitation due to the prevailing strong El Nino phenomenon is hampering rise in Angat’s water level, affecting availability of reserve there. In its 11 a.m. severe weather bulletin released Saturday, PAGASA warned of heavy to intense rainfall within the 600-kilometer diameter of ‘Lando.’ “The typhoon covers a wide area so we expect Angat watershed to still receive rain from ‘Lando’ even if this typhoon will likely landfall in Aurora,” Orendain said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Central, Northern Luzon to feel brunt of Typhoon Lando this weekend


OCTOBER 18 -Central and Northern Luzon are in for strong winds and potentially heavy rain this weekend from an approaching tropical storm that is likely to strengthen into a typhoon by the time it reaches the country.
Tropical Storm Koppu entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) around 2 p.m. Wednesday and was given the local codename "Lando". As of 4 p.m., it was posited 1,410 km east of Baler, Aurora, with maximum sustained winds of 65 kph and gusts of up to 80 kph. Lando is forecast to track toward the country at 22 kph, with possible landfall in Isabela early Sunday morning. "Estimated rainfall amount is from moderate to heavy within the 500 km diameter of the tropical storm. Fisher folk are advised not to venture out over the seaboards of Northern Luzon and over the eastern seaboard of Central Luzon," PAGASA warned. Meanwhile, the US' Joint Typhoon Warning Center's (JTWC's) said as of 5 p.m. Wednesday that Lando may strengthen into a typhoon by Thursday afternoon and continue to gain strength before hitting the country. Although far from Lando's immediate effects, Visayas can expect intermittent heavy rains this Thursday as Lando draws in rainclouds across the region. — GMA News - THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Four dead due to ‘Lando’


OCTOBER 18 -1 dead, 4 hurt as toppled tree hits house in Quezon City October 18, 2015 4:03pm Tags: lando, quezoncity (Updated 7:16 p.m.) One person died and four others were injured after being hit by a toppled tree in Quezon City on Sunday afternoon. A report by radio dzBB's Rodil Vega said the toppled tree crashed onto a house in Barangay Central. GMA NEWS NETWORK OCTOBER 18, 2015 At least four people were reported dead, four injured, and six missing as typhoon Lando (international name “Koppu”) pummeled parts of Luzon Sunday. Two of the reported fatalities were reported in Nueva Ecija, one in Aurora province, and one in Quezon City. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDDRMC), however, has yet to receive an official report on the casualties. Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali said two bodies were seen in barangay Sapang Buho in Palayan City yesterday. He said the bodies were not retrieved as they were swept by the raging floodwaters. He said he went to Palayan City to check on ongoing search and rescue missions. “Napakataas ng tubig dun at dun nga may nagrerescue at ang sabi sa akin ni kapitan ay may nakita silang dalawang bangkay…Sa lakas ng agos, hindi nila nakuha…Hindi ho nila nahawakan agad dahil tuloytuloy daw ang lakas ng agos,” said Umali. READ MORE... RELATED, Power restored in portions of Lando-affected areas- Meralco...

ALSO TIMES COLUMN: What the Pope said. Should we listen?


OCTOBER 17 -by RONY V. DIAZ, FORMER MANILA TIMES PUBLISHER / EXECUTIVE EDITOR Pope Francis’s encyclical letter, Laudato Si’, is one of the most profound and stirring documents on poverty and climate change. The underlying theme of the letter is that everything is connected, to use the Pope’s word, “integral.” It is not easy reading. It is also pessimistic about man and his future. But, it is unforgettable; the Pope’s complex mind is in full display; its imagery is a vivid as the poetry of Thomas Merton. But is it accurate? Should we believe it? Can it be our guide on the fraught questions of global warming and climate change? The science journal, Nature, asked a diverse group of climate scientists to review it for its consistency with their findings. Here is what some of them said. On the science of climate change, the Pope said: “A very solid consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climate system. It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanic activity, variations in the earth’s orbit and axis, the solar cycle) yet a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases released mainly as a result of human activity.” Hans Joachin Schellnhuber, the director of the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research in Germany said: “I can testify that everything in the encyclical is in line with science.” This is a direct challenge to those who still doubt that since 1850, when the Industrial Revolution began, perturbations in global temperatures were observed. The best evidence of this is the ice cores that were extracted from the ice sheets in South Pole that showed that for 800,000 years until the Industrial Revolution the world’s temperature was stable at 10ºC. This is the basis of the 2ºC target above pre-industrial levels that was adopted in Cancun and which will be debated again in Paris in December this year. Since the first meeting 25 years ago in Berlin average surface temperature has risen 0.8ºC, leaving very little time to keep it within the 2ºC target. On the cap-and-trade scheme, Pope Francis said: “The strategy of buying and selling carbon credits can lead to a new form of speculation which would not reduce the emissions of polluting gases worldwide. This system seems to provide a quick and easy solution under the guise of a certain commitment to the environment but in no way does it allow for the radical change which present circumstances require. Rather it may simply become a ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors.” Cap-and-trade was adopted in Kyoto. It allowed some industries to pollute by buying carbon credits from industries that do not pollute. The aim is to put a price on carbon that, it was hoped, would stabilize or even reduce the addition of carbon to the atmosphere, using the price mechanism of the market economy. This was thought to be a carbon tax. Ottmar Edenhofer, the co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agreed. “If we want,” Edenhofer said, “to avoid dangerous climate change, we have to restrict the use of fossil fuels, we have to put a tax on carbon. This would generate revenue, which could be used to improve access to clean water or education, especially for the poor.” READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Philippine food producers go hungry


OCTOBER 17 -SHE’S GOT THE LOOK Children wait for their turn to be served during a feeding program conducted by the urban poor group, Kadamay, in Barangay Payatas in Quezon city. Photo by Mike De Juan

MANILA, OCTOBER 19, 2015 (MANILA TIMES) by ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL, BULATLAT.COM - Peasant and fisherfolk protested on World Food Day on Friday, calling for genuine agrarian reform, which, they said, will solve hunger.

They protested in front of the Department of Agriculture’s office in Quezon City holding placards bearing calls such as “Pagkain hindi bala! Lupa sa nagbubungkal! (Food not bullets! Land to the tiller!) A farmer carried an empty pot, to depict hunger in the countryside, where the producers are.

“It is ironic that the rural people who are the primary food producers are the ones who are experiencing lack of food and drastic hunger,” said Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice chairman. “This has been a running nightmare especially for the fisherfolk and farmers all over the country.”

France said that based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), these are the top two sectors with the highest poverty incidence.

Peasant groups called for the enactment of the Genuine Agrarian Reform bill (Garb), and a stop to the smuggling of imported rice.

Ronald Garcia, an agricultural engineer and member of Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (Agham) said the 2015 theme for World Food Day — “Social Protection and agriculture: breaking the cycle of rural poverty” — is in sharp contrast with the situation of Philippine agriculture.

Garcia criticized the 2011-2016 Food Staples Self-sufficiency Roadmap (FSSR) program of the Aquino government which targeted 100 percent rice self-sufficiency.

However, he said the Philippines remains one of the top net importer of rice in the world, importing 1.6 million metric tons of rice in 2014. This year’s rice imports is projected to increase further.

Free irrigation bill

Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap, meanwhile, pushed for free irrigation services for farmers through House Bill 6224, or the Free Irrigation Services Bill.

Irrigation is one of the primary factors for the growth of agricultural productivity, Hicap said, and food security is impossible without free irrigation service in the country.

“The agriculture sector is the backbone of the national economy as the country remains agricultural, where farmers and farm workers, who comprise the vast majority of the population, till the lands for their livelihood and for the benefit of the entire nation,” Hicap said.

The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) reported that as of 2014, only 57 percent of the targeted 3 million hectares had irrigation, with 1.3 million hectares still without irrigation.

Hicap said the huge budget of the National Irrigation Administration does not benefit farmers. The NIA even charges for the irrigation. The proposed NIA budget was increased from P28 billion ($622 million) in 2015 to the proposed P33 billion ($709 million) for 2016.

READ MORE...

Hicap said irrigation fees add to the cost of rice production, with farmers bearing the high cost of fuel for water pumps. Many just depend on the rain, and eventually, “go bankrupt and lose their lands.”

Hicap called for a stop to the collection of irrigation fees, as proposed by HB 6224. He said the budget for construction, repair and maintenance of national irrigation systems should be included in the General Appropriations Act.

“To move on the path towards food security and rice self-sufficiency, we challenge President Aquino’s government to immediately pass this bill and take control of the dams to irrigate the farms across the country,” Hicap said.

Water as priced commodity

Agham’s Garcia said the “Philippines is the only country in Asia where farmers pay for irrigation services, in line with World Bank policy to treat water resources as a priced commodity.

He said the government has continued to neglect its obligation to provide agricultural inputs and utilities to help farmers in the face of calamities, such as the El Niño phenomenon.

In Basey, Samar, where Agham recently conducted an agriculture productivity assessment, irrigation facilities built during the Ramos regime remained unused, and farms still rely on rain, Garcia said.

He said that in the face of heavy losses suffered by farmers due to El Niño, the government has turned to rice importation to feed the country.


PHILSTAR

Thousands flee from slow-moving Lando; More rains continue By Helen Flores and Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 19, 2015 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


A lineman clears cables that had fallen along Quezon Avenue as Typhoon Lando ripped through the country yesterday. MICHAEL VARCAS

MANILA, Philippines - Typhoon Lando (international name Koppu) knocked out power and triggered landslides and floods, forcing thousands to flee as it pounded Northern and Central Luzon yesterday.

Power out in many areas

Three casualties were initially reported while more than 23,000 people were evacuated from their homes, with more expected to flee as the slow-moving Lando grinds its way northward across Luzon before leaving the country as forecast on Wednesday.

Two persons were reported dead in Palayan City in Nueva Ecija, the governor of the province told ANC.

Gov. Aurelio Umali said he was informed of the casualties, who were retrieved from the floodwaters in the area.

Umali said they have yet to identify the two individuals to validate the report, as rescue operations were still ongoing.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), however, reported only one casualty from the typhoon.

NDRRMC executive director Alexander Pama said Aaron Castillo died after being pinned down by a fallen tree in Barangay Central in Quezon City yesterday. Four others were wounded in the incident.

One person also died of electrocution in Sta. Ignacia, Tarlac, according to Office of Civil Defense Central Luzon deputy director Nigel Lontoc.

Civil defense officials in Central Luzon are also verifying reports that three persons in Baler, Aurora and three others in Abukay, Bataan went missing.

Officials also reported power and communications disruptions across Luzon in the wake of Typhoon Lando, with many roads and bridges also blocked by landslides, floods or fallen trees and power pylons.

Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga said 24 of 707 distributed utility circuits were damaged and completely knocked out by the typhoon, leaving many from the provinces of Cavite, Bulacan and Rizal without electricity.

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines added it was monitoring power transmission lines in Central and Northern Luzon that were affected by Lando.

Ferry services across Luzon were suspended amid rough seas while commercial aviation was also disrupted with 44 flights cancelled, with two on international routes.

The NDRMMC said a total of 5,580 passengers have been stranded in various ports in the country due to the bad weather.

On the other hand, local government units in Central Luzon and Metro Manila ordered the suspension of classes today.

More rains

Aldczar Aurelio, weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said Lando is expected to linger over Luzon until Wednesday, a day longer than earlier forecast and could mean the region would be soaked with more rain.

Aurelio said the typhoon was moving slowly due its interaction with three weather systems – a tropical storm with international name Champi off the Pacific Ocean; a high pressure area over the West Philippine Sea, and a tail-end of a cold front.

Lando slightly weakened from 175 kilometers per hour to 150 kph after making landfall over Casiguran, Aurora at around 1 a.m. yesterday.

Lando then moved west northwest at a pace of five kph.

The typhoon moved northwest over the Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija, poised to hover at the Cordillera region, prompting authorities to warn of possible flashfloods and landslides triggered by heavy rains brought by Lando.

“We are strongly recommending forced evacuations in the Cordillera Administrative Region especially villages that are landslide- and flood-prone,” Pama said.

READ MORE...

Even before Lando made landfall, landslides were reported as early as Saturday night in Tineg town in Abra; in Kibungan, Benguet; and Calanasan town in Apayao.

The main road leading to the towns of Paracelis, Natonin and Barlig was closed to traffic because of landslides.

The NDRRMC reported a total of 15 roads and 10 bridges remained impassable as of yesterday.

In a press briefing, Aurelio said Lando will continue to bring moderate to heavy to occasionally intense rain over Northern and Central Luzon, particularly the western section, until today.

He said improving weather was expected in some parts of Central Luzon, including Aurora and Metro Manila, beginning last night.

Aurelio said Lando is likely to weaken into a severe tropical storm tomorrow morning and exit landmass of Luzon on Wednesday.

He said the typhoon was expected to linger inside the Philippine area of responsibility until Friday.

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the eye of Lando was spotted in the vicinity of Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya, packing winds of 150 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 185 kph.

It was forecast to move west northwest toward the regions of Cordillera and Ilocos at 5 kph.

Storm signal No. 4 has been lifted in Aurora, but the province is still under storm warning signal No. 2.

As of 5 p.m. yesterday, public storm warning signal No. 3 remained hoisted over Nueva Ecija, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Kalinga, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan and Zambales.

Storm signal No. 2 was still up in Cagayan including Calayan and Babuyan group of Islands, Isabela, Aurora, Abra, Apayao, Ilocos Norte, Bataan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, Rizal, northern Quezon including Polillo Islands and Metro Manila.

The provinces of Batanes, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and the rest of Quezon were placed under storm signal No. 1.

Stormy weather will still be experienced in areas under storm warning signal Nos. 2 and 3 while occasional rains and gusty winds will continue to affect the provinces under signal No. 1 until today, PAGASA said.

The weather bureau continued to warn residents in low lying and mountainous areas of the provinces with storm warning signals against possible flashfloods and landslides.

PAGASA has also warned of storm surges, massive typhoon-generated waves smashing along coastal areas, but there have been no reports of these as Lando moved inland.

Esperanza Cayanan, PAGASA weather division chief, continued to warn the public against venturing into the coastal waters of Northern Luzon due to big waves generated by the typhoon and the northeast monsoon.

“Even if the weather has improved in your area, traveling by sea in Northern Luzon remains dangerous,” Cayanan said in a press briefing at the NDRRMC office in Quezon City.

Cayanan also reported PAGASA’s Doppler radar in Baler, Aurora was damaged by Lando.

Residents of communities in Lando’s expected path in northern Luzon were hunkering down under darkening skies, according to Kate Marshall, part of an advance reconnaissance team of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Isabela.

“The rain is bad to intermittent and wind is picking up,” Marshall said.

She said residents of Dupax town, near the Pantabangan dam, were heading for the relative safety of schools and government buildings as floodwaters rose.

Overflow

The torrential rains dumped by Lando filled major dams in Luzon, including Angat Dam in Bulacan.

PAGASA hydrologist Richard Orendain said the water level at Angat Dam increased by 1.89 meters to 196.05 meters in the past 24 hours.

“It is expected to increase further in the coming days,” Orendain noted as Lando is expected to linger in the country until Wednesday or Thursday.

Angat supplies 97 percent of Metro Manila’s domestic water needs.

Orendain said Ambuklao and Binga dams in Benguet, the Magat Dam in Isabela, and the Ipo Dam in Bulacan, kept their gates open to release excess water due to continuous rains from Lando.

Three of the seven gates of Magat Dam have reportedly been opened. The dam is releasing 1,690 cubic meters of water per second.

Orendain said the water released from Magat Dam would flow to Cagayan River, near the area of Gamu town in Isabela province.

‘Strongest cyclone in 5 years’ Malacañang said President Aquino was closely monitoring the situation in typhoon-hit areas and constantly received updates from Cabinet members.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said Aquino has ordered agencies to ensure the prompt delivery of assistance to affected areas.

The President, however, did not attend the NDRRMC meeting yesterday in Camp Aguinaldo.

“There is a situation room in the Malacañang Park where such meetings can be held. There is no doubt that the national government led by President Aquino is continuously monitoring the situation,” Coloma said.

Coloma said the government has enough resources in the budget to assist the typhoon victims.

The US’ Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) has categorized Lando as a super typhoon, a term used for cyclones with maximum winds of at least 150 mph, equivalent of a Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

PAGASA uses 10-minute average readings for a cyclone’s wind speed, compared to the one-minute average readings of JTWC. This means that PAGASA readings produce lower average maximum sustained wind speeds for cyclones.

According to reports, Lando is the strongest cyclone to make landfall in Luzon since Super Typhoon Juan (Megi) in 2010.

Exactly five years ago yesterday, Juan hit Northern Luzon provinces, leaving at least 11 people dead and damage to agriculture amounting to P1 billion.

The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 storms each year, many of them deadly.

The deadliest and strongest on record, Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), destroyed entire towns in central Visayas in November 2013, leaving more than 7,350 people dead or missing. –Artemio Dumlao, Raymund Catindig, Edu Punay, Eva Visperas, Cesar Ramirez, Ric Sapnu, Rudy Santos, Mayen Jaymalin, Rainier Allan Ronda, Manny Galvez, Ramon Efren Lazaro, Danessa Rivera, Robertzon Ramirez, Non Alquitran


MANILA TIMES

‘Lando’ brightens water prospects in rain-hungry Angat Dam October 17, 2015 5:33 pm


3 DAYS OF HEAVY RAIN

State hydrologists expect downpour from typhoon ‘Lando’ (international name: Koppu) to bring water reserve in Metro Manila’s rain-fed main water source Angat Dam closer to the 210 meters target flood season high water level (FSHWL) there.

“Our calculations show such downpour can result in a four- to eight-meter rise in Angat’s water level which was at 194.16 meters only as of 6 a.m. Saturday (Oct. 17),” said Richard Orendain, senior hydrologist at State weather agency Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

He noted such rise might be possible if ‘Lando’ dumps heavy to intense rain while remaining stationary for several hours after landfalling in Aurora province but before heading northwards to extreme Northern Luzon.

“If such scenario happens, it’ll be good news for Angat,” he said.

What’s ideal is for Angat Dam’s water level to at least reach the FSHWL by yearend to better ensure availability of water for the following year, he noted.

Data show as of 6 a.m. Saturday, Angat still needed 570 millimeters of rain so its water level can reach the FSHWL, however.

Authorities said lack of precipitation due to the prevailing strong El Nino phenomenon is hampering rise in Angat’s water level, affecting availability of reserve there.



In its 11 a.m. severe weather bulletin released Saturday, PAGASA warned of heavy to intense rainfall within the 600-kilometer diameter of ‘Lando.’

“The typhoon covers a wide area so we expect Angat watershed to still receive rain from ‘Lando’ even if this typhoon will likely landfall in Aurora,” Orendain said.

READ MORE...

PAGASA forecast ‘Lando’ to make a landfall this Sunday morning (Oct. 18) in Aurora along Luzon’s eastern seaboard.

According to PAGASA, ‘Lando’ was 295 kilometers east of Aurora’s Baler municipality as of 10 a.m. Saturday.

‘Lando’ packed maximum sustained winds of 160 kilometers near its center and gustiness of up to 195 kilometers per hour, PAGASA said.

“That typhoon slightly intensified,” said PAGASA.

PAGASA also forecast ‘Lando’ to head west at 10 kilometers per hour.

The agency expects ‘Lando’ to likely move through Northern Luzon during the weekend then exit this area’s west coast-lying Ilocos Region around Tuesday (Oct. 20).

Orendain said this Saturday morning, Angat watershed already began receiving moderate rain from ‘Lando.’

“More rain there will mean more water for Angat Dam,” he said.

He noted Angat hasn’t received much rainfall in previous days, resulting in no significant water level rise there.

“Rain there then was mostly from thunderstorms only,” he said further.

In mid-2015, government stopped supplying Angat water for irrigation to help ensure availability of this commodity for Metro Manila.

Government then also began reducing allocation of Angat water for Metro Manila as PAGASA expects El Niño to last until mid-2016.

Earlier, PAGASA forecast El Nino to intensify further – possibly to a new record high.
PNA


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Central, Northern Luzon to feel brunt of Typhoon Lando this weekend October 14, 2015 6:13pm Tags: toppu, lando, tropicalstorm By TJ DIMACALI, GMA News

Central and Northern Luzon are in for strong winds and potentially heavy rain this weekend from an approaching tropical storm that is likely to strengthen into a typhoon by the time it reaches the country.

Tropical Storm Koppu entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) around 2 p.m. Wednesday and was given the local codename "Lando". As of 4 p.m., it was posited 1,410 km east of Baler, Aurora, with maximum sustained winds of 65 kph and gusts of up to 80 kph.

Lando is forecast to track toward the country at 22 kph, with possible landfall in Isabela early Sunday morning.

"Estimated rainfall amount is from moderate to heavy within the 500 km diameter of the tropical storm. Fisher folk are advised not to venture out over the seaboards of Northern Luzon and over the eastern seaboard of Central Luzon," PAGASA warned.

Meanwhile, the US' Joint Typhoon Warning Center's (JTWC's) said as of 5 p.m. Wednesday that Lando may strengthen into a typhoon by Thursday afternoon and continue to gain strength before hitting the country.

Although far from Lando's immediate effects, Visayas can expect intermittent heavy rains this Thursday as Lando draws in rainclouds across the region. — GMA News


MANILA BULLETIN

Four dead due to ‘Lando’ by Elena L. Aben October 18, 2015 (updated) Share0 Tweet7 Share0 Email1 Share17


1 dead, 4 hurt as toppled tree hits house in Quezon City October 18, 2015 4:03pm Tags: lando, quezoncity (Updated 7:16 p.m.) One person died and four others were injured after being hit by a toppled tree in Quezon City on Sunday afternoon. A report by radio dzBB's Rodil Vega said the toppled tree crashed onto a house in Barangay Central. GMA NEWS NETWORK OCTOBER 18, 2015

At least four people were reported dead, four injured, and six missing as typhoon Lando (international name “Koppu”) pummeled parts of Luzon Sunday.

Two of the reported fatalities were reported in Nueva Ecija, one in Aurora province, and one in Quezon City.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDDRMC), however, has yet to receive an official report on the casualties.

Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali said two bodies were seen in barangay Sapang Buho in Palayan City yesterday. He said the bodies were not retrieved as they were swept by the raging floodwaters. He said he went to Palayan City to check on ongoing search and rescue missions.

“Napakataas ng tubig dun at dun nga may nagrerescue at ang sabi sa akin ni kapitan ay may nakita silang dalawang bangkay…Sa lakas ng agos, hindi nila nakuha…Hindi ho nila nahawakan agad dahil tuloytuloy daw ang lakas ng agos,” said Umali.

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RELATED FROM MANILA BULLETIN

Power restored in portions of Lando-affected areas- Meralco by Maricel Burgonio October 18, 2015 (updated) Share1 Tweet25 Share0 Email0 Share46


MB File photo--Maintenance crews from the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) MB File photo

Maintenance crews from the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) said it restored power to more than half of its franchise areas affected by typhoon ‘Lando’.

From 207,000 or 4 percent of the total customers, Meralco said that around 130,000 customers or 2 percent are left without power, citing the worst hit areas include Cavite and Rizal.

It said that 11 of its circuits (out of 707) remain to be either partially or completely out due to trouble or damage brought about by Typhoon Lando.

The distribution facility said it continuously assessing the extent of damage in its distribution facilities including poles, transformers, wires, and sub-transmission lines.

It added that it is also currently repairing its damaged facilities and is gearing all its efforts to restore power to affected areas hopefully within the day.

The DU, however, said that restoration time depends on several factors including the volume of debris that has to be cleared in affected areas, and the extent of damage to Meralco’s own distribution facilities, among others.


MANILA TIMES COMMENTARY

What the Pope said. Should we listen? October 17, 2015 10:10 pm RONY V. DIAZ


by RONY V. DIAZ, FORMER MANILA TIMES PUBLISHER / EXECUTIVE EDITOR

Pope Francis’s encyclical letter, Laudato Si’, is one of the most profound and stirring documents on poverty and climate change.

The underlying theme of the letter is that everything is connected, to use the Pope’s word, “integral.” It is not easy reading. It is also pessimistic about man and his future. But, it is unforgettable; the Pope’s complex mind is in full display; its imagery is a vivid as the poetry of Thomas Merton.

But is it accurate? Should we believe it? Can it be our guide on the fraught questions of global warming and climate change?

The science journal, Nature, asked a diverse group of climate scientists to review it for its consistency with their findings.
Here is what some of them said.

On the science of climate change, the Pope said: “A very solid consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climate system. It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanic activity, variations in the earth’s orbit and axis, the solar cycle) yet a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases released mainly as a result of human activity.”

Hans Joachin Schellnhuber, the director of the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research in Germany said: “I can testify that everything in the encyclical is in line with science.”

This is a direct challenge to those who still doubt that since 1850, when the Industrial Revolution began, perturbations in global temperatures were observed. The best evidence of this is the ice cores that were extracted from the ice sheets in South Pole that showed that for 800,000 years until the Industrial Revolution the world’s temperature was stable at 10ºC.

This is the basis of the 2ºC target above pre-industrial levels that was adopted in Cancun and which will be debated again in Paris in December this year. Since the first meeting 25 years ago in Berlin average surface temperature has risen 0.8ºC, leaving very little time to keep it within the 2ºC target.

On the cap-and-trade scheme, Pope Francis said: “The strategy of buying and selling carbon credits can lead to a new form of speculation which would not reduce the emissions of polluting gases worldwide. This system seems to provide a quick and easy solution under the guise of a certain commitment to the environment but in no way does it allow for the radical change which present circumstances require. Rather it may simply become a ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors.”

Cap-and-trade was adopted in Kyoto. It allowed some industries to pollute by buying carbon credits from industries that do not pollute. The aim is to put a price on carbon that, it was hoped, would stabilize or even reduce the addition of carbon to the atmosphere, using the price mechanism of the market economy. This was thought to be a carbon tax.

Ottmar Edenhofer, the co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agreed.

“If we want,” Edenhofer said, “to avoid dangerous climate change, we have to restrict the use of fossil fuels, we have to put a tax on carbon. This would generate revenue, which could be used to improve access to clean water or education, especially for the poor.”

READ MORE...

The proposal made by China, one of the three biggest emitters of carbon, along with India and the US, is cap-and-trade.

Before the air in Beijing become unbreathable, China was actually making money from carbon credits that it sold in the international carbon market.

India’s proposal is based on carbon intensity, a method that links carbon emission to economic output.

In short, both countries want to stay within the status quo, as much as possible.

On biodiversity and the ocean, the Pope said: “The earth’s resources are also being plundered because of short-sighted approaches to the economy, commerce, and production. The loss of forests and woodlands, entails the loss of species which may constitute extremely important resources in the future not only for food but also for curing disease and other uses.


Pope Francis urges 'decisive' climate change action Francis wants to influence this year's key U.N. climate summit in Paris Thomson Reuters Posted: Jun 18, 2015 6:16 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 18, 2015 3:43 PM ET
'Many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms,' wrote Pope Francis in the first papal document dedicated to the environment. (Max Rossi/Reuters) CBC NEWS CANADA

Different species contain genes which could be key resources in years ahead for meeting human needs and regulating environmental problems… International and regional conventions do exist, but fragmentation and lack of strict mechanisms of regulation, control and penalization end up undermining these efforts. The growing problem of marine waste and the protection of the open seas represent particular challenges.”

Gavin Schmidt of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, said: “I find nothing remarkable in the Pope accepting mainstream science—things have moved on from the days of Galileo, but climate change is a moral imperative that requires that we change our value system. On this point I strongly agree with him.”

Forests and seas are carbon sinks. But deforestation and the use of the oceans as garbage dumps and the destruction of corals and schools of fish continue unabated. Tuna, in the millions, use to roam the open seas. Today they are counted in the thousands, and they are still hunted relentlessly. At the same time the oceans become acidic and even toxic.

The root cause is capitalism. Production and consumption without limits are the norm of all countries.

The Pope’s call for sustainable and integral development is still a theory. Economic growth is the object of every country, rich or poor. There seems to be no other way. And for this reason the message of the Pope is received with deep skepticism by many people.

The Pew Research Center in Washington D.C. ran a recent poll of Catholics in America. It found that 71% of American Catholics believe that man is the cause of global warming; 47% think that it can be solved by technology and 48% say that it is a serious problem about which they are clueless. This is roughly half of the Pope’s flock in the United States.

Finally, on fossil fuels and renewable energy, the Pope said: “We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay. Until greater progress is made in developing widely accessible sources of renewable energy, it is legitimate to choose between two evils or to find a short-term solution. But the international community has still not reached adequate agreement about the responsibility for paying the costs of this energy transition.”

In Lima, Peru, our secretary of finance, Mr. Cesar Purisima, presided over a meeting of ten of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. They are islands, deserts, archipelagos, land-locked countries, states that depend on snow melt for drinking water, and so on. All of them would not able to make transition to a carbon-less future by 2030 without help. India for example estimates that to achieve her goal it needs $2.5 trillion. And with this, it can only reduce carbon intensity by 33-36% and to generate 40% of its energy from clean sources.

Adding all the pledges of 140 countries, the agency that tracks carbon buildup in the atmosphere said that they are not enough; by 2030 we would breach the 2ºC target.

Since the treaty that will be debated in Paris depends on the member states measuring, monitoring, and assessing their individual carbon emissions and voluntarily reporting these to the IPCC, the chances of slippage are very high.

Unless all the countries agree to be assessed by the United Nations, which is not likely, the Paris meeting will have to change the metric to zero emission by 2030. This does not look possible.

The Pope is correct. The whole world will have to change its values, its culture, and its institutions.

No wonder, Laudato Si’ is so bleak

Rony V. Diaz, an award-winning writer, served as executive editor, editor in chief and then publisher of The Manila Times,, while writing the paper’s weekly science column. He resigned to devote “all his time to storytelling.” He is now working on his fourth novel.

The Manila Times Book Division published his trilogy consisting of At War’s End, Elegy for Candida and Quita y Pone, which are available at National Book Store. He also worked as director general of the National Manpower and Youth Council (NMYC), which presaged TESDA and the International Labour Organization (ILO)in Geneva. He also taught at the University of the Philippines.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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