MANILA – (UPDATE, 12:09 PM.)PAGASA said early Sunday the low-pressure area it was tracking, which could develop into the Philippines’ first storm for 2018, was estimated at 960km east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, and was expected to pass over Mindanao and some portions of the Visayas, particularly the southern areas, in the New Year.
Most of those on track to be affected by the LPA which may develop into a tropical depression and become a tropical storm (to be called Agaton) are already storm-ravaged areas in Visayas and Mindanao, having been hit by Urduja and Vinta which came in quick succession, prompting urgent prayers from Catholic bishops for these places to be spared.
Meanwhile, the tail-end of a Cold Front was affecting Bicol region and Eastern Visayas, and the Northeast Monsoon was affecting Northern and Central Luzon, said the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
Also on Sunday morning, PAGASA issued a gale warning over the seaboards of Northern Luzon and the eastern seaboard of Central Luzon (Batanes, Babuyan, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Isabela and Aurora ); as well as the eastern and western seaboards of Southern Luzon (Camarines provinces, Catanduanes, Eastern coast of Albay, Eastern coast of Sorsogon, Eastern coast of Quezon including Polillo Island and Occidental Mindoro).
Also covered by the gale warning are the eastern and western seaboards of the Visayas (Northern Samar, Eastern Samar and Antique).
Fishing boats and other small seacraft were advised not to venture out into the sea while larger sea vessels were alerted against big waves.
COLD FRONT, AMIHAN
Earlier, PAGASA said that scattered rains will prevail over most parts of the archipelago as the tail-end of a cold front continue to dump rains over Bicol and eastern Visayas, while the northeast monsoon (Amihan) still affect northern and central Luzon, state weather agency
Bicol region and eastern Visayas will experience cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms.
The northeast monsoon will cause cloudy skies with scattered rains over Cagayan Valley, Cordillera Administrative Region, Aurora and Quezon, and partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rains over Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon.
PAGASA said partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers will prevail over the rest of the country.
Moderate to strong winds will also continue to prevail over the country with moderate to rough seas.
BISHOPS: PLEASE SPARE THE PEOPLE
The Catholic bishops’ prayer for the storm-hit communities to be spared from a fresh disaster was earlier made by Ozamis Archbishop Martin Jumoad, according to a report on Radio Veritas.
On Sunday, Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), appealed to everyone to pray for the safety of all Filipinos, particularly those at risk of fresh danger from a brewing weather disturbance.
“Lord almighty and loving God, we pray for our people, especially those who are suffering and those who died in the recent storms, and even as one is set to be coming to the Philippines. We pray for the homeless, the elderly and children,” went the prayer of Archbishop Valles.
He prayed that those currently suffering in the aftermath of the Urduja-Vinta back-to-back storms that hit the South will keep their faith and trust in God through the charity of others.
“Let us pray for all and each one, so that when we welcome the New Year even with darkness and so much suffering we will keep our faith in the mercy and compassion of the Lord. Will keep our hope that through our kindness and care for each other, people will know and feel that the Lord is love,” added Archbishop Valles.
Caritas Philippines earlier called for aid for all people staying in evacuation centers.
In Davao, Valles also prayed for the victims of the NCCC mall fire, where 37 call center agents perished.
Newly appointed Naval Biliran Bishop Rex Ramirez also made a public prayer earlier, following the onslaught of both Urduja and Biliran on his constituency.
“Your blessings, Father, never fail. And so we ask of You once again that you avert in Your powerful hands whatever calamity awaits us. We ask that Your blessing may stay with us. And that Your grace may provide us of peace and with strength and in this lenience, we ask that this end of the year that be the summary of all blessings for us all. So that we may begin it by giving You praise,” went the prayer of Bishop Ramirez.
Biliran accounted for 40 of the total dead from Urduja.
“We are being threatened by a typhoon supposedly to make a landfall in our country, on December 30 or 31, most probably it will hit Mindanao again. Lord we know that You love us, we also know that we had been remiss in our duty to love You and our neighbors specially the needy and we are sorry for all the mistakes that we have done and we trust in Your loving kindness, please Lord let peace [reign],” said the prayer, meanwhile, by Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez.
Over 100 perished from Vinta and over 200 others were missing in Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur and Misamis Oriental.