PAGASA lifts wind signals in some areas as ‘Bising’ slows down

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021   •   239

MANILA, Philippines – The tropical cyclone wind signals (TCWS) in some areas in the country were lifted on Wednesday as Typhoon Bising continues to slow down while moving northwestward east of mainland Cagayan, the state weather bureau said.

In its 11 a.m. bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said that TCWS signal number 2 has been lifted but signal number 1 remains hoisted over the following areas:

  • Batanes
  • Cagayan including Babuyan Islands
  • The eastern portion of Apayao (Luna, Santa Marcela, Flora, Pudtol)
  • The eastern portion of Kalinga (Pinukpuk, Rizal)
  • The eastern portion of Isabela (Ilagan, San Mariano, Palanan, Divilacan, Maconacon, San Pablo, Cabagan, Tumauini, Santa Maria, Delfin Albano, Santo Tomas, Quezon, Quirino, Gamu, Naguilian, Benito Soliven, Reina Mercedes, Mallig, Burgos, Roxas, Cauayan City, Luna, San Manuel, Cabatuan, Aurora, Dinapigue, San Mateo, Alicia, Angadanan, San Guillermo, Echague, Jones, San Agustin, San Isidro)
  • The northeastern portion of Quirino (Maddela)
  • The northern portion of Aurora (Casiguran, Dilasag)

PAGASA said that tropical cyclone winds of at least strong breeze to near gale in strength extend outward up to 370 km from the center of the typhoon. Destructive typhoon-force winds extend outward up to 90 km from the center of the typhoon.

It added that the northeasterly wind flow enhanced by the typhoon will also bring strong breeze to near gale conditions with higher gusts over the coastal and mountainous areas of Northern Luzon that are not under any TCWS in the next 24 hours.

Bising was last located at 360 kilometers east of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, packing maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers per hour (km/h) near the center and gustiness of up to 215 km/h. The typhoon is moving northwestward at 10 km/h.

Based on the forecast track, PAGASA said Bising will move generally northward or north northwestward until Wednesday night or Thursday morning, when the typhoon will be nearest to the landmass of Northern Luzon.

Afterwards, the typhoon will move northeastward away from the landmass throughout tomorrow and east northeastward on Friday and Saturday.

Bising is expected to gradually weaken throughout the remainder of the forecast period. The typhoon will likely be downgraded to severe tropical storm category by Saturday and tropical storm category by Sunday.

 

Mark your stargazing calendars! Witness meteor showers, lunar eclipse in May

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Catch the Eta Aquarid meteor shower and the total lunar eclipse in May.

About 20 or more meteors per hour will be seen from the sky as the Earth passes close to the orbit of Halley’s comet, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

The meteor shower is usually active between April 19 and May 28 every year.

“The point from where the meteors appear to radiate is located within the constellation Aquarius, the Water Bearer,” PAGASA said.

Meanwhile, on May 26, a total lunar eclipse will be visible in the Philippine sky. The entire event will be seen in South/East Asia, Australia, Much of North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Antarctica.

PAGASA said the eclipse will begin at 4:47 p.m. Philippine Standard Time (PhST) and will end at 9:49 p.m. (PhST).

In Manila, the moon will rise at 6:14 P.M. on 26 May and will set at 4:49 A.M. on 27 May 2021.

The state weather bureau assured that lunar eclipses are safe to watch and observers need not use any kind of protective filters for the eyes. A pair of binocular will help magnify the view and will make the red coloration of the moon brighter. AAC

DOH studying possibility of mixing vaccine brands – FDA

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is currently looking into the possibility of mixing different brands of vaccines against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Thursday.

FDA director general Eric Domingo said the DOH is already drafting a set of guidelines that will allow a person to receive different brands of COVID-19 vaccines for first and second dose in case of severe allergic reaction and other adverse effects.

Aaralin po ngayon yan ng Department of Health, in fact, meron naman po talagang ongoing meetings ang Department of Health on that dahil meron po talagang instances na for example naturukan ka ng bakuna ng first dose tapos nagka-severe allergy ka so hindi ka na puwede sa second dose nun at kailangang isipin ngayon yung magiging alternative,” Domingo said during the Laging Handa briefing.

“Gumagawa na ng guidelines ngayon ang DOH kung paano ‘yung interchangeability or mixing ng vaccines in case the second dose cannot be given na identical doon sa first dose,” he added.

Domingo said this after President Rodrigo Duterte said he has requested China to recall the 1,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines it donated following criticisms over his decision to receive a jab that has yet to secure an emergency use authorization from the FDA.

Duterte received his first dose of Sinopharm vaccine on Monday night.

Malacañang earlier said that the vaccine dose used on the president was covered by the compassionate special permit issued by the FDA for the Presidential Security Group.

DND’s Lorenzana backs Duterte remark on arbitral ruling on WPS vs China

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday expressed agreement with President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent remark on the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) favoring the Philippines in its case against China’s activities in the West Philippine Sea.

“What President Duterte said last night regarding the PCA ruling is correct,” Lorenzana said in a statement, referring to Duterte’s statement that nothing happened when he tried to assert the arbitral ruling on the Philippines’ rights in the resource-rich West Philippine Sea.

In a pre-taped public address on Wednesday night, Duterte said he tried to pursue the arbitral ruling when he came to power in 2016 but “nothing happened,” adding that the ruling was “just a piece of paper” that can be tossed into a waste basket.

Lorenzana said he agrees with the President when he said that there is no international law enforcement body that can enforce the ruling.

He, however, stressed that even without the PCA ruling, the Philippine government will still continue to defend “what is rightfully ours.”

“As I said in my previous statement, the President’s orders have been firm and straightforward: we defend what is rightfully ours without going to war and maintain the peace in the seas,” he said.

Lorenzana also said that Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will continue conducting maritime exercises in the West Philippine Sea and the Kalayaan Island Group.

The National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea earlier said that it has intensified maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea after Chinese vessels were spotted lingering in areas within the Philippine exclusive economic zone.

The Department of Foreign Affairs have repeatedly filed diplomatic protests over Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea.

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