Archive for November, 2006

Warden Notice: typhoon Durian looks like a real stinker

NOTE: latest report says strom may shift south and miss most of metro manila but will hit areas south of the capital and may pass on to mindoro. the next few hours are critical. though as two bodies of water laguna de bay and manila bay may draw the storm to the area. But if so it would be weakened by the hills of btangas and thus may pass clear of the area entirely. However this does not lomit the risk to people in those areas.

videos below were recorded prior to this info…

latest on Wires:

Typhoon hits Philippines ‘like an earthquake’ Mail & Guardian Online
Typhoon Durian slams into northern Philippines Reuters
Aussies warned of Philippines typhoon Ninemsn

all 170 news articles »

Typhoon Durian bears down on Philippines Reuters AlertNet
Typhoon Durian intensifies, storm signals raised over eastern Malaysia Star
Hundreds stranded, classes suspended as storm pummels Philippines Monsters and


[]…” (UPDATE) Storm warning up as ‘super typhoon’ nears Bicol
Weather bureau PAGASA has hoisted public storm signal number 4 over Catanduanes province as “super typhoon” Reming (international codename Durian) approached the Bicol region Wednesday. 11/29/2006 6:33:07 PM…’ []

Got this in an email:


November 29, 2006



Typhoon Watch In Effect


Be advised that a tropical depression east of the Philippine Islands may develop into a category 1 typhoon by November 29, and may reach Category 4 strength within 24 to 48 hours. The current forecast is that it will reach the Philippines north of Manila by early morning Friday December 1, with winds reaching 60 mph (100 km/ph). If it strengthens to a Category 4 storm, winds could reach 130 mph (220km/hr).

Please remember that Friday is a holiday and the embassy will be closed.

Future developments concerning the storm’s intensity may be tracked via the following web sites: or

U.S. citizens in the projected path of the storm are strongly urged to monitor media reports and follow all official instructions. Visitors should be familiar with their hotel evacuation plans. Flight into and out of affected airports may be suspended at anytime.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: All U.S. citizens in the affected areas should secure their travel documents, (i.e. U.S. Passport, Birth Certificate, picture ID’s, etc.) U.S. citizens are reminded to stay in contact with friends and family in the United States to keep them apprised of your current whereabouts.

American citizens with questions or concerns may telephone the Embassy at (63)(2) 528-6300. The Embassy will be closed on Friday, December 1. In case of an emergency outside business hours, American citizens may reach the Embassy duty officer through the Embassy operator at (63)(2) 528-6300. The U.S. Embassy is located at: 1201 Roxas Boulevard, Manila, Philippines.

November 29, 2006 at 7:09 pm 1 comment

Philippines:HAZMAT spill gear/training badly needed

A pair of incidents within 24 hours shows the dangers of hazardous chemicals in the Philippines. The first event took place in a countries richest municipality’s – the City of Makati where a spill cause problems for a local community after a local high school science lab had a major accident while people were looking over chemicals for end of the year experiments.

toxic substances were unreleased accidentaly – more due to neglect and error.

[] ” … ABC News Australia report:

Manila: Ten high school teachers and two security guards were hospitalised yesterday after they inhaled noxious chemicals in their school lab in Makati City, school authorities and officials said. They were taken to a government-run Makati Hospital for contamination testing after they vomited, developed skin rashes, could not breathe, and felt giddy when they went near the science section of the San Isidro High School yesterday, said Fire Chief Superintendent Sofia Mendoza.
“They have to stay in the hospital for about four days. We are still determining the types of chemicals that have affected them,” said Dr Joselito Pascual of the poison control centre of the University of Philippines-Philippine General Hospital. “We are looking at six to seven types of chemicals that were suspected to have affected the health of the patients,” said Pascual. …’ []

The second spill took place in a small town north of Manila – in the now semi urban area of Marilao – a once small town  – now filled with subdivisions from the ever rapidly growing cities of Manila.

            []…”Chemical Fumes Sicken 31 in Philippines
Forbes, NY – 1 hour ago
Noxious fumes from chemical waste dumped into a Philippine creek forced thousands to flee their homes and sickened dozens Tuesday, officials said.
Philippines: Thousands evacuate after chemical spill CCTV
Philippine chemical spill sickens 31 Houston Chronicle
Philippine chemical spill sickens 20 people; 3,000 flee homes International Herald Tribune   …” []

Here as international reports show from the wires- agonise, it was more sinister- a truck carrying chemicals from area factories or industrial sites dumped its waste into what perhaps a driver thought was a place where few people were. result 31 hospitalised and the chemicals caused severe damage to the local community.

But a email I got from a local security expert based here in Manila – who has worked internationally with major foreign law enforcement agencies says both spills show the risks and dangers HAZMAT  cleanup, handling and investigation when events like these occur.

Most local government units do not have the proper equipment and or capability to handle things like this – the danger considering how much chemical use in manufacturing is so prevalent. The need for more Hazmat safety gear is bdly needed per my security expert.

Here’s an excerpt from the email.

[]”… ” Mike,
my former partners were the ones who responded with the bunny suits and SCBA breathing apparatus.  all the gear of gov’t were deployed in cebu for the ASEAN summit.  the gov’t should consider upgrading its hazmat and WMD capabilities.  the one at san isidro was just a school accident, what if it were a terrorist act???  the gear that was brought to the site was from , the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in laguna.  They were kind enough to respond with their equipment.  ” – …[]

The need and demand is high and gear is limited.  Perhaps DENR could get into the act and start equipping PENRO / CENRO offices in the country with HAZMAT gear-  in HAZMAT emergencies – after all DENR Sec. Angie Reyes’s people would most likely be the lead agency when disasters like a HAZMAT problem occur in prosecution and later in enforcement and cleanup.

DILG and the PNP have gear but it is limited. Imagine the scene today in Bulacan which I saw unfolding on TV. I know personally the reporters who responded. Doland Castro of ABS-CBN at about 6:20 in the morning was reporting from an area near the spill and promptly came to the conclusion his gear a few masks were more needed by local emergency workers and gave up his filtered mask gear.

He later reported most people in the area – were sick nearest the spill and scores more were ‘walking to the site to see for themselves.” what the bad smell was.

Here the LGU could have and should have set up a safety zone and also cordoned off the area. HAZMAT training is clearly lacking at the Police and LGU level – the level of chemical danger and risk is not only smell in many cases but even mere exposure alone.

One need only be reminded of the tragic Bhopal chemical spill that killed thousands in India among them scores of ill-equipped first responders who rushed into the area to give aid only to fall victim to the very toxic cloud that was there.

Let both Bulacan and Makati be a lesson – there is a risk and danger. As well as a need. Perhaps this Christmas shopping list for local government and the PNP and the DENR  should be HAZMAT equipment and training sessions. before something worse happens.

November 28, 2006 at 10:06 pm Leave a comment

Farewell Max…


I often think I learned a lot “my trade” early in life reading the reports and column of the late publisher of the Philippine Star Max Soliven, he always had a specail place in my morning reading table since he often took up topics most other columnists did not.

Soliven dies while traveling in Japan
Manila Standard Today, Philippines – 11 hours ago
NEWSPAPER publisher and journalist Max Soliven died yesterday while traveling in Japan, his newspaper said. Soliven, 77, died in
(UPDATE) Max Soliven passes away ABS CBN News
Max Soliven Passes Philippine Star
Max Soliven passes away ABS CBN News

His career spanned eight presidents, seven coups, countless disasters and his work helped set a nation free from the crudgles of dictatorship. He often wrote about the isues a lot people cared about – and voiced his concerns from where media should.

Not too far rgiht or left of the spectrum. He wrote from the center – the heart – of the field of Politics and life. Farewell to a mentor of so many in media in Asia and beyond… farewell to a friend… Godspeed and Godbless.

November 25, 2006 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

strange story: Osama’s gang goes Indie to visit Manila?

I have often seen strange stories coming out of this part of the globe but this one is one for the list of the strangest – while checking on a fugitive I heard there was major Philippine Justice Department investigation underway in Manila.

The reason it seems on Aug 9th ten members of major faction of al qaeda slipped into the country – using – forged or real visa’s and Indian passports.

the report which came out on Philippine TV – and later was confirmed by the Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales – reads like a Reuters odds and ends story.

It seems a group of men – ten of them – all high ranking emissaries of the Al Qaeda leader slipped into the country and may be in Mindanao. Ok- its happened before but that was pre-911 … so considering one can barely rent a car here without three different pieces of ID or go even into a seven eleven or some fast food joints without a pat down check and bag inspection.

It amazes me how simply it was done. If reports are to be believed – and assuming since there is a major investigation and several dozen high officials being grilled not only by local but international groups – the thing is possible – after-all fake or foraged or real and bought Identification is always a problem anywhere in the world.

But this one was strange considering the internal and social issues of Afghans and Pakistani’s posing as Indians alone being a new concern. The group is believed to be partly the reason why the local cells have gone silent. waiting perhaps for this new group to come into the country.

But, if indeed not one but ten – high profile Al Q people are in the country and have no record of leaving one wonders what is up or in the works and the obvious reasons why the information is being leaked. Perhaps in the hopes of foiling by exposure whatever the group is planning or thinking. However – it is something worth looking at further if these guys got in… Who else is here?

the report :

[]”…  Suspected Osama bin Laden allies enter Philippines with fake visas
People’s Daily Online, China – 2 hours ago
Suspected allies of international terrorist leader Osama bin Laden were able to enter the Philippines using fake visas and other forged travel documents … ” [] 

November 24, 2006 at 10:40 pm Leave a comment

US Homeshoring to replace ‘BPO Outsourcing?’

Here’s a reason for many in the current Philippine and Indian BPO boom industry to demand local telecoms to build better a Internet infrastructure  to homes and communities. many in the US congress have been seeking to get many of the outsourced jobs back onto US shores – a scheme is being studied to give incentives to those who bring the jobs back. But- there will still be outsourcing – although it won’t be the same.

[]...” The trend is called “homeshoring,” a play on “offshoring,” the practice of sending call-center work abroad. Offshoring was in full flower a few years ago: The United States lost 250,000 call-center jobs to India and the Philippines between 2001 and 2003, according to Technology Marketing Corp.
But new technology, specifically VoIP, or voice-over-Internet protocol, which allows calls and data to be channeled over the Internet, has helped reverse the trend. An analysis by the nonprofit Call Centers Association found that the United States gained more than 40,000 call-center positions in the last four years, in some cases because employers weren’t satisfied with the quality of the work done overseas. The technology research firm IDC estimates there are now about 130,000 home-based customer service agents in this country, a number that is expected to pass 300,000 in 2010….”
[] “Some Jobs Are Coming Back”

Outsourcing has had a negative impact in the US economy with scores of jobs going overseas. Leading to a higher under-employment rate and more jobs being sent abroad  something the now majority democrats hope to counteract and get jobs outsourced back to American shores. How? since the economic costs of doing so would be counter productive to the US economy.

The answer- by telecomuting and viop and cutting other costs and dealing with home based business across the USA.

Homeshoring – allowing people to work from home means lowr wages, less interpersonal time, and piecemeal rates that reward the skilled and weed out the lazy. keeping costs down and people employed.

So how can outsourcing companies compete? well – if Philippine based firms can tap into the homeshorers – offer them to ‘help with workload and working together make everyone happy. Homeshorers could manage ten to fifty individual off-shorers. hence – by networking and improving the web levels the homes could be new financial centers of the business process industry.

November 21, 2006 at 7:38 pm Leave a comment

Guimeras oil spill waste barge sinks: Insult to Injury indeed!

A few weeks back a friend of mine who has shifted away from Journalism took a job working on a crisis PR team of a the oil company that owned the oil shipment that spilled in Guimeras. He said his boss’s attitude was “the accident was a insult to nature… and that it was a accident afterall no one wanted that to happen.”

tonight news reports are that the clean up barge sank causing another potential environment crisis. Te only thing I can tell my friend is this now adds injury to the insult.

Barge carrying debris from Philippines‘ worst oil spill sinks
International Herald Tribune, France – 1 hour ago
AP. MANILA, Philippines: A barge carrying 630 tons of debris from the worst oil spill in the Philippines sank in rough seas, officials said Tuesday.
Barge with oil spill debris sinks in Philippines Reuters
Barge carrying debris from Philippines‘ worst oil spill sinks Hindu
all 9 news articles »

What kind of people run the former state owned oil firm and can’t they get anything right? firt they hire a rickety old single hulled oil carrier then what they hire a barge to carry the waste cleanup that has become for all intents a toxic artificial reef?

November 21, 2006 at 6:36 pm Leave a comment

Its Pacquiao in 3rd congrats Manny…

Congratulations a lot of people are happy anew in manila with the latest info trickling in over the web for those who did not see the fight itself on pay per view in Manila. Anyhow am sure there will be a lot of people happy today. Some of the best round by round covrage was found on the web from a site in canada.

Here on TV in manilathe delayed telecast is just starting even as 20 mins ago it was over.

November 19, 2006 at 1:51 pm 1 comment

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