TROPICAL cyclone wind signal #2 was up as of Tuesday afternoon in several provinces in the Bicol Region as tropical storm Ulysses intensified while approaching land. Weather bureau PAGASA, in its 5 p.m. bulletin, warned of “damaging gale-to storm-force winds” in Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Albay, Camarines Sur, and the eastern portion of Camarines Norte (San Vicente, Talisay, Daet, San Lorenzo Ruiz, Basud, Mercedes). Wind signal #1 was also raised in several Luzon and Visayas areas. A storm surge alert was also issued over coastal areas along the storm’s path, including in the capital Metro Manila. PAGASA said Ulysses, the 21st to enter the country this year, could strengthen into a typhoon by Wednesday afternoon with a possible peak intensity of 130-155 kilometers per hour (km/hr) and make landfall over Bicol or Quezon province. As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, the storm’s center was located 375 km northeast of Virac, Catanduanes with maximum sustained winds of 85 km/h and gustiness of up to 105 km/h.
New Third-Party Monitoring Team chair named for Bangsamoro peace
A new chair has been designated for the Third Party Monitoring Team that oversees the implementation of the peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the Bangsamoro region. In a statement on Tuesday, the team announced the appointment of German national Heino Marius, an economics expert and a long-time European Union (EU) official. His career includes experience on dealings in southeast Asia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The EU delegation to the Philippines, in a separate statement, congratulated Mr. Marius on his new post and underscored the EU’s continued support to the peace process. Mr. Marius completes the five-member independent monitoring team, which currently includes: Karen Tanada (Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute), Rahib Kudto (United Youth for Peace and Development, Inc.), Huseyin Oruc (Humanitarian Relief Foundation), and Sam Chittick (Asia Foundation).