‘Ambo’ blows till Monday; Coast Guard rescues 24 aboard motorbanca



The first storm of the rainy season is here.

Tropical Storm “Ambo” brings wind, rain and choppy seas, ensuring a wet weekend and start of classes when public schools open on Monday.

The storm yesterday endangered a Bohol-bound motorbanca that stalled in the sea off Lawis Ledge, Talisay City.

All 24 people aboard the MB Salmin were safe with half of them rescued by a Coast Guard Search and Rescue Vessel an hour after the banca experienced engine trouble.

Twelve passengers transferred to the Coast Guard’s rubber boat and arrived at Pier 1, Cebu City at 3:30 p.m.

The other 12, including crew members, decided to stay in the banca while the engine was being fixed. The unregistered banca was on its way to Cabub-ian Island, Buenavista, Bohol province.

Storm “Ambo” is expected to leave the Philippines area of responsibility on Monday, said Bolivar Artiaga, weather specialist of Pagasa Mactan.

Cebu province will be spared from strong winds but must be alert for possible flashfloods and landslides brought by heavy rains, he said.

Expect cloudy skies with rains and a storm-itensified northeastern monsoon or Amihan, he said.

The Visayas and Mindanao will experience moderate to rough seas, especially in western Cebu.

The weather bureau declared the official start of the rainy season on May 31, Thursday.

In the next two months, rains will mostly occur late afternoon until evening, said Artiaga.

Since the storm has a small circulation, it is not expected to make landfall as it moves northeast to Japan.

Storm signal 1 was raised in Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Polilio Island, Aurora and Isabela.

At least 19 storms visit the Philippines every year, although last year over 20 weather disturbances occurred.

Tropical Storm “Ambo” whose internationally name is “Mawar” was located 190 kilometers northeast of Virac, Catanduanes with winds of 65 kph to 80 kph.

The MB Salmin was “dead-in-the-water” around 1:30 p.m. yesterday shortly after leaving Pasil port in Cebu City. It later drifted to shallow waters between the former Kawit Island in Cebu City and islets in Cordova town.

Cebu Coast Guard Commander Rolando Punzalan, Jr. said the unregistered motorbanca was operated by Roger delos Santos of Cabui-an, Bohol.

Coast guard personnel later found a foot-long crack in the pre-board of the motorbanca which may have been caused by strong waves.

Punzalan said they were able to restore normal operations of the engine. The motorbanca was brought to Tongo Island, Cebu where the crew wanted to keep it overnight for repair.

The rescued persons were identified as Efren Cañizares, 46; Nelson Tabay, 31; Flaviana Primacio, 52; Neil Ace Gador, 28; Francis Lapu-Lapu, 11; Christian Lapu-Lapu, 16; Jenith Llanto, Florentino Primacio, 58; Rebecca Abellar, 15; Jotelen Angiol, 16; and Evamae Minguito, 15. With Correspondent Jhunnex Napallacan

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