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‘Paolo’ to enhance rain

The low-pressure area in the West Philippine Sea developed into a tropical depression on Thursday and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration named it “Paolo.” The weather bureau said Paolo was 230 km west of Subic, Zambales and too far to directly affect the country but it will enhance the southwest monsoon and may bring moderate to occasionally heavy rains and thunderstorms. The tropical depression was packing maximum winds of 45 kilometers per hour near the center. It was forecast to move west at 7 kph. It is expected to 400 km west of Subic on Friday and 570 km west of Zambales, out of the Philippine area of responsibility, on Saturday. The  rain is expected to delay the repair work being undertaken in Zambales where the Department of Public Works and Highways is dredging the Kalaklan river in Zambales which was tagged as one of the causes of the heavy flooding in Olongapo City earlier in the week. The perennial monsoon rains have caused massive flooding in Northern and Central Luzon including areas of Olongapo City and some towns of Zambales, according to Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson. The DPWH chief instructed Region 3 Director Antonio Molano Jr. to prepare the programs of work for the immediate release of funds for the dredging jobs. Singson said that among the viable solutions to Olongapo City’s worsening flooding woes is to unclog the mouth of Kalaklan River from lahar and sand bar build-up through dredging to allow free passage of runoff towards the sea. Typhoon Odette which brought heavy rains has caused soil, mud, rock and other particles from the mountains to surge down to Kalaklan river and other water tributaries in the Province of Zambales. Regular desilting works through dredging were being undertaken at Kalaklan River to reduce siltation for several years until in August 2011 when the deployed dredger broke down and no replacement parts could be found, said Molano. “To prevent flooding, we need to deepen the waterway of Kalaklan River with the use of dredger equipped with scooping or suction devices to remove materials from the riverbed,” Molano said. The DPWH has also encouraged concerned local government units to help in the efforts of removing illegal structures in the river, particularly shanties that encroached the riverbanks. With Vito Barcelo
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