PGMA orders PAGASA to issue hourly update on storm 'Pepeng' — Golez

September 30, 2009 9:45 am 

MANILA, Sept. 30 — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) on Wednesday to make hourly updates on the new weather disturbance threatening the country.

Deputy Presidential Spokesman Anthony Golez said President Arroyo ordered the weather agency of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) "to update the public hour by hour" on the latest movement of the approaching tropical storm codenamed “Pepeng.”

PAGASA spokesman Nathaniel Cruz told a radio interview this afternoon that "Pepeng" has already entered the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) 940 kilometers east of Surigao City and heading in the general direction of northern Luzon.

According to Cruz, "Pepeng" has strong winds of 120 kilometers per hour with gustiness of 150 kph.

Undersecretary Golez told Malacanang reporters President Arroyo wants the weather agency to inform the people as early as possible on the "latest movement of the new tropical storm that has already entered our area of responsibility."

Golez said that with the new directive of the President, the public can now prepare this early, particularly those residents living in low-lying areas and near the rivers and other waterways, for the approaching storm.

"We already learned lessons from typhoon Ondoy and we need to be alert and be prepared this early on the coming new tropical storm," Golez stressed.

He added that President Arroyo also appealed to the public, particularly her critics, "to set aside politics but instead help our countrymen who were victimized by typhoon Ondoy."

The Palace official made this pronouncement in view of criticisms from the President's detractors regarding her order to open the doors of Malacanang as relief operations and evacuation centers for the victims of the floods induced by tropical storm "Ondoy" over the weekend.

"Instead of politicizing the move of the President in converting the Palace into a national relief operations center and evacuation center, they must take a cue of what the President did in helping the flood victims to have a temporary shelter," Golez said. (PNA)

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