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Storm enters PH, threatens Luzon

The tropical cyclone with international name “Nock-ten” entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility yesterday and was given the local name “Nina.”

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration said several tropical storm Nina gained strength as it moved closer to the country.

Nina was last spotted 790 kilometers east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, packing maximum sustained winds of 105 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 130 kph, moving west northwest at 25 kph in the direction of Central and Southern Luzon.

It is expected to make landfall in the eastern part of the country on Christmas Day.

PAGASA added Nina may intensify further into a typhoon, bringing heavy rains and blustery weather in Luzon and Visayas on Christmas Day.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is now under blue alert status after Nina entered the PAR.

NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad said this is to ensure the constant monitoring of the weather disturbance and its possible effects.

Jalad has also directed all regional and local DRRMs to take appropriate actions and initiate pre-emptive evacuations if needed.

The concurrent Office of Civil Defense administrator said disaster officials in the Bicol region have been on alert since Thursday for the possible effects of the weather disturbance.

He advised those with scheduled travels to coordinate with their seaports, airlines, or bus companies for possible cancellation of trips beginning Friday afternoon or evening in the Bicol region or Samar area due to Nina.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development has began coordinating with its field offices for Nina.

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo reported yesterday that her department maintains 573,730 family food packs strategically prepositioned across the country.

Taguiwalo also said that funds amounting to P127,013,772.09 are ready to be used by local government units that will be possibly affected by the inclement weather.(Chito A. Chavez and Francis T. Wakefield)