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Aquino reprimands PAGASA at Typhoon Basyang briefing

July 14, 2010 9:03am

President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III admonished the weather bureau on Wednesday for failing to predict that Typhoon Basyang (Conson) would ravage Metro Manila.

On Tuesday, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced that Basyang would batter Northern and Central Luzon areas, but the storm lashed Metro Manila instead.

At an emergency meeting called by the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) in Camp Aguinaldo, Aquino told PAGASA that accurate weather information is vital for the government in preparing for disasters.

"That information it is sorely lacking and we have had this problem for quite a long time. ... You do what you are supposed to do... this is not acceptable. I hope this is the last time that we are all brought to areas different from where we should be," the president says.

The PAGASA weather bulletin on Tuesday listed Metro Manila among the areas that would experience Storm Signal No. 1, with 30 to 60 kilometers-per-hour winds.

However, a stronger storm hit the metropolis, knocking down power supply in most areas. As of 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, a dzBB report quoted Energy Secretary Jose Almendras as saying that 20 percent of power, or some 4,500 megawatts, had been restored in the affected areas.

PAGASA head Prisco Nilo explains the weather bureau updates its bulletin every six hours to take into account any "possible changes."

"We update the bulletin every six hours to take into account possible changes that were not earlier indicated by the mathematical models we are using as guidance in coming up with our forecast," he says.

Aquino was at Camp Aguinaldo Wednesday to obtain information on the damage caused by Basyang and personally monitor the repair and recovery work in the aftermath of the typhoon.

Aside from Almendras, those present during the meeting with the President were Secretaries Voltaire Gazmin (Defense), Corazon Soliman (Social Welfare), and presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda. — LBG/RSJ/VVP, GMANews.TV
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