Filipino forecaster Meno Mendoza shows the path of Typhoon Mangkhut, locally named Typhoon Ompong as it approaches the Philippines with sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour (127 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 255 kph (158 mph), at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration in metropolitan Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. Philippine officials say they plan to evacuate thousands of villagers, shut down schools and offices and scramble to harvest rice and corn as the most powerful typhoon so far this year menacingly roars toward the country's north.
AP/Aaron Favila
DOF orders immediate release of seized rice to DSWD as 'Ompong' approaches
(philstar.com) - September 14, 2018 - 4:13pm

MANILA, Philippines — Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has ordered the Bureau of Customs to immediately release seized smuggled rice and other food items to the Department of Social Welfare and Development to augment government preparations for the onslaught of typhoon Ompong (international name: Mangkhut).

According to the Finance chief, “government-to-government transfers in emergency situations can be legally fast-tracked” as in the case of the BOC release of the seized food stocks to the DSWD for disaster relief. 

Under Chapter 10, Section 1141 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, or CMTA, goods under BOC custody that are up for disposal “may be donated to another government agency or declared for official use by the Bureau, after approval of the Secretary of Finance.”

Goods suitable for shelter, food items, clothing materials and medicines “may be donated to the DSWD,” the CMTA states. 

Ten areas in Luzon have been placed under Signal No. 3 Friday morning as "Ompong" barrels toward the Philippine landmass.

"Ompong" continues to threaten Northern Luzon and is forecast to make landfall in Cagayan-Isabela area early Saturday morning.

Related video:

— with Ian Nicolas Cigaral

OMPONGPH TYPHOON OMPONG
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 18, 2018 - 11:36am

Typhoon Mangkhut is feared to gain strength as it approaches the Philippine area of responsibility. The tropical cyclone will be named "Ompong" once within the country's vicinity.

The United States Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center records that "Mangkhut" has maximum sustained winds of 80 knots or 148 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 185 kilometers per hour as of Monday morning.

Forecast track of the cyclone shows that it is heading toward the northernmost tip of the country's water off northern Luzon by Friday.

September 18, 2018 - 11:36am

The Department of the Interior and Local Government tallies 66 dead, 62 missing in wake of Typhoon Ompong, ONE News reports.

The department says it will also look into potential lapses in local governments' disaster preparations.
 

September 18, 2018 - 10:02am

The United Church of Christ in the Philippines clarifies Tuesday that a church reported to have collapsed in a landslide in Itogon, Benguet was an old bunkhouse that was being used as a place of worship by United Church Fellowship (Pentecostal Group).

The casualty figure on Monday was at 56 dead but the figure is expected to rise, with around 40 to 50 people believed to still be buried in the mud as search and retrieval operations continue.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, who said he is a member of UCCP, on Monday played down President Rodrgo Duterte's remark over the weekend that the "church" would not have collapsed if people had replaced the priest there. He also said priests are stupid.

"Ang tingin ko naman po, hindi naman po seryoso ang presidente. Let's not take his words always literally," Roque said.

Benguet was one of the areas hardest hit by Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) over the weekend.

September 17, 2018 - 3:53pm

Philippine and Chinese authorities say the death toll from a typhoon has risen to at least 69 with dozens missing.

Mangkhut weakened to a tropical storm Monday morning as it moved deeper into southern China, where rain and strong winds were expected to continue through Tuesday.

A Philippine national police report said the death toll as of Monday midday was 65, with 43 people missing and 64 injured. Chinese authorities reported four deaths from falling trees and building materials in Guangdong, China's manufacturing hub.

Many of the missing in the Philippines are gold miners and their families feared buried in a landslide after seeking shelter in a bunkhouse-turned-chapel in a village in Benguet province.

Mangkhut battered the northern Philippines on Saturday before slamming into southern China on Sunday. It was the most powerful typhoon to hit Hong Kong since 1979, packing winds of 195 kilometers per hour (121 mph). — AP

September 17, 2018 - 3:53pm

Mangkhut has weakened from a typhoon to a tropical storm as it moves deeper into China.

The storm was still affecting southern China's coast and the provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan on Monday morning and rain and strong winds were expected to continue through Tuesday.

Hong Kong residents were being told to stay away from the coastline and be on alert for occasional gales. Bus, ferry and rail services were suspended and almost 900 flights were canceled at the city's airport, one of the world's busiest. The South China Morning Post said Hong Kong's hospitals had to use backup power due to outages caused by the storm.

Mangkhut earlier lashed the Philippines, sparking landslides and building collapses that killed at least 64 people. At least two deaths have been reported in China. As of Monday morning Mangkhut was on track to pass over the Guangxi regional capital of Nanning.

The Hong Kong Observatory reported Mangkhut was the most powerful cyclone to hit the city since 1979, packing maximum sustained gusts of 195 kilometers per hour (121 mph). — AP

September 16, 2018 - 12:35pm

Australia is providing A$800,000 (P30.9 million) worth of humanitarian supplies to the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Ompong. This includes sleeping mats, blankets and hygiene and shelter kits for up to 25,000 people in the most affected areas.

These supplies are being distributed by the Philippine Red Cross.

Australia also deployed humanitarian experts to the Philippines.

"Our Embassy is coordinating closely with Philippine authorities and our international partners... We stand ready to provide further assistance, if requested by the Philippine Government," the Australian government says.

 

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