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PAGASA: Pope’s trip to Tacloban dangerous

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(BY: ATTY. BATAS  MAURICIO) LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS:“… `The rains came, the streams rose, and strong winds blew and beat against that house and it fell with a great crash’…” (Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, in Matthew 7:27, the Holy Bible).

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POPE’S TRIP TO TACLOBAN IS DANGEROUS, PAGASA WARNS: I don’t know whether Pope Francis or his Vatican entourage and security officers will read this column before his trip to Tacloban City and Palo, Leyte on January 17, 2015 to meet with, and say a mass for, the Yolanda victims in those areas, but I want to put on record just the same that there is an official PAGASA warning against his travel by plane to Leyte on that day.

PAGASA (or our weather bureau, which is now known as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration) told me in the morning of January 16, 2015, while I was anchoring the program “Tambalang Batas at Somintac” at DZEC, 1062 kHz, that travelling to Leyte by plane on January 17, 2015 was dangerous on account of Typhoon Amang.

Buddy Javier, one of PAGASA’s seasoned weather specialists, told me, in answer to my question, that if he were to advise Pope Francis and his group, he will tell them not to proceed with the Leyte trip because of extremely bad weather. As per his forecast, Javier said Tacloban City would be included in the 300-kilometer radius of the storm, and is expected to experience strong winds and rains.

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WEATHER IN TACLOBAN DANGEROUS FOR PLANE TRAVEL: I had to ask my colleagues in the program (which airs 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. from Mondays to Fridays, and is available worldwide through www.eaglenews.ph) to call PAGASA precisely to get a more definitive picture of the weather situation that would prevail in the places that Pope Francis will visit in the Eastern Visayas as part of his five-day trip in the Philippines.

My reporter’s instincts about the weather in Tacloban City were terribly heating up even the day earlier, or on January 14, 2015, when I read media reports that the Aquino government will leave it to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and Pope Francis himself to determine if, despite the inclement weather brought about by the storm, the visit to Visayas will still push through.

Even then, on January 14, 2015, I was already saying that it was totally irresponsible for the Aquino government to be making that kind of a declaration, because, clearly, the CBCP and the Pope would not have any scientific data which they could use in evaluating their options about the Visayas trip. Only the government, through PAGASA, has that data, and it was up to it to either warn or stop the Pope.

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PRAY FOR POPE’S SAFETY: In my interview at DZEC on Friday with PAGASA, through Mr. Buddy Javier, my worst fears were confirmed: Typhoon Amang, with its rains and winds, posed a real danger to the Pope in his plane travel to Tacloban City on Saturday, January 17, 2015, not only because of its 300-kilometer radius, but more because its strength could reach as high as 95 kilometer per hour near the center.

Given the clear and deliberate silence of the Aquino government on this matter, and given the earlier announcement of the CBCP that the Pope’s travel to Tacloban City will proceed as scheduled, rain or shine, those who really care for the safety of Francis while he is in the Philippines should now be minded to earnest, sincerely, and urgently pray for his safety!

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UNTIL WHEN WILL FILIPINOS BE DISCIPLINED?So, alright, Filipinos have shown discipline, cooperativeness, and, to some, a degree of holiness, in welcoming Francis last Thursday, January 15, 2015. Despite the huge number of welcomers that lined up the roads leading to the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila where Francis went to spend the night, discipline was overwhelmingly displayed by everyone. Ok, but, how long will Filipinos be able to display this discipline?

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REACTIONS? Please call me at +63 917 984 24 68, +63 918 574 0193, +63 922 833 43 96, or Skype (batasmauricio), Viber (+63 918 574 0193) and Line (+63 917 984 24 68). Email: batasmauricio@yahoo.com, melaniolazomauriciojr@outlook.com, mmauriciojr111@gmail.com.-30-




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