Published on Page A1 of the July 26, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
THE TYPHOON that swept through the country, drenching protesters and police during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) yesterday, would have been named after the President dishing out promises inside the halls of Congress.
Typhoon ?Glenda? (international code name: Kaemi) was originally named Gloria by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
Since 2002, Gloria was used to identify the seventh typhoon that enters the Philippine area of responsibility. It was changed to Glenda last year after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo won the 2004 presidential election amid charges of cheating.
The change was done to dissociate Ms Arroyo from any damage that could be caused by the tropical cyclone.
?If the tropical cyclone became destructive, it could be associated with the President. So we changed it last year,? said a PAGASA source, who asked not to be named to protect his job in the government agency.
Some 20 tropical cyclones enter the country?s area of responsibility every year.
PAGASA weather branch chief Nathaniel Cruz said typhoon names that might have negative associations with real persons were changed. These included Darna, Jolina and Jawo.
A child of Mars Ravelo, producer of the television series ?Darna?, had sought to remove Darna as a tropical cyclone name because Darna was known as a defender of the oppressed and should not be associated with a weather disturbance that could cause damage.
The manager of singer-actress Jolina Magdangal cited the same reason when he sought the removal of Jolina from the list of cyclone names, while basketball fans complained about naming a typhoon after Jawo (the nickname of former Senator Robert Jaworski) who is a hero to them.
PAGASA has four groups of names for tropical cyclones, which are arranged alphabetically. The lists are alternately used, going back to the first group in the fifth year.
Out of the country
?Nobody paid any attention to Gloria before; we just wanted it to sound better,? Cruz said in a phone interview. ?Never did we imagine that during a SONA there would be a typhoon like Glenda.?
After enhancing the monsoon winds that caused days of continuous rains in Metro Manila and most of Luzon, Glenda left the Philippines and moved to the southeastern coast of China. It weakened after hitting a land mass.
The heavy rains forced the government to cancel classes for two consecutive days in Metro Manila and the northern provinces.
Signal No. 1 remained hoisted over the Batanes Group of Islands, Calayan Group of Islands, Babuyan Island, Ilocos Provinces, Abra, La Union, Pangasinan, Zambales and Bataan, according to PAGASA?s 5 p.m. typhoon update yesterday.
The weather bureau said Metro Manila would continue to experience rains until tomorrow but not as frequently as in the past three days.
Sunny skies can be expected from Thursday to Saturday as no cyclone has been monitored near the country?s area of responsibility, the agency said.