Rob Gutro
Tropical Cyclone Peipah passed the island of Palau on April 5 moving through the Northwestern Pacific Ocean as it heads for a landfall in the Philippines.Peipah was formerly known as Tropical Cyclone 05W and was renamed when it reached tropical storm-force. Since then, however, wind shear has weakened the storm to a tropical depression.
On April 5 at 2100 UTC/5 p.m. EDT, Tropical Storm 05W, renamed Peipah (and known locally in the Philippines as Domeng) was located about 262 nautical miles east-southeast of Koror. It was centered near 5.5 north and 137.8 east and moving to the west-northwest at 8 knots/9.2 mph/14.8 kph. Maximum sustained winds were near 35 knots/40 mph/62 kph.

The VIIRS instrument that flies aboard NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite captured an infrared image of Peipah on April 5 at 16:27 UTC/12:27 p.m. EDT. It showed strong thunderstorms west of the center of circulation as a result of moderate to strong easterly wind shear. That wind shear continued over the next two days as two other satellites saw the same effect.
By April 7 at 0900 UTC/5 a.m. EDT, Peipah had weakened to a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds near 25 knots/28.7 mph/46.3 kph. It was located near 6.4 north and 132.1 east, about 819 nautical miles southeast of Manila, Philippines. Peipah was moving to the west-southwest at 15 knots/17.2 mph/27.8 kph and is expected to turn to the west-northwest making landfall in northeastern Mindanao before moving through the central or Visayas region. Mindanao is the

 second largest and southernmost major island in the Philippines.
Satellite imagery on April 7 continued to show that the main convection and thunderstorms were still being pushed to the west-northwest of the center as a result of vertical wind shear. An image Peipah showing clouds and rainfall was created by the Naval Research Laboratory that combines rainfall rate data from NASA's TRMM satellite with cloud imagery from Japan's MTSAT-2 satellite. The images, taken at 0544 UTC/1:44 a.m. EDT and 5:23 UTC/1:23 a.m. EDT, respectively show the clouds and showers pushed to the west-northwest of the center. The TRMM data showed that the heaviest rainfall was occurring at a rate of 1 inch/25 mm per hour northwest of the center.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration issued a Tropical Cyclone Warning for Shipping on April 7.
Peipah continues to move west-northwest toward the Philippines and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasters do not expect the storm to intensify much before landfall.
Joe Torres, Manila
Rubylita Garcia, who was killed on April 6 (photo from Garcia's Facebook page)
Gunmen on Sunday shot and killed a reporter working for the daily tabloid Remate in the Philippines’ city of Bacoor.
Rubylita Garcia, 52, was gunned down in front of her 10-year-old granddaughter and another relative. The gunmen broke into her home on Sunday morning.
Garcia, described by colleagues as a "hard-hitting journalist," died at the hospital five hours later due to gunshot wounds. The victim's son, Tristan, said that just before she died, his mother had mentioned the name of a ranking police official as being behind the shooting.
A relative of Garcia who witnessed the shooting quoted one of the assailants as saying, "We will not harm anyone else."

Garcia is the 20th Filipino journalist killed since 2010, when President Benigno Aquino came to power, and the 160th since 1986 when democracy was restored in the country.
The Philippine National Police has already formed a "special investigation task force" to look into the killing.
Benny Antiporda, president of the National Press Club and publisher of Remate, however, expressed doubt that justice would be rendered "in the swiftest time possible".
"[A task force], whether probing the death of journalists or any other prominent personality, is never a guarantee that the culprits would be arrested and the brains unmasked before the ‘trail of the crime’, so to speak, turns cold," Antiporda said.

He said that despite the promise of Aquino to solve the killings of journalists under his administration, "nothing has been solved".
"As the number of dead journalists under the Aquino government continues to mount, solving the murder should be seen as the 'litmus test' in [the government]'s commitment to solve media killings," Antiporda said.
The National Union of Journalists said in a statement that the latest killing "shows that the government’s pronouncements on eliminating the culture of impunity … have been nothing but lip service."
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists ranks the Philippines the third worst in its “impunity index” of countries that fail to tackle violence against the press.
The CPJ listed at least 72 Filipino journalists killed since 1992.
Manila Bulletin
Davao City – The provincial government of Davao Oriental has created the Provincial Oil Palm Development Council tasked to study the potential of oil palm production in coastal towns, the information office said in a press statement.In a recent consultation and orientation on oil palm industry attended by hundreds of farmers and the business sector, the Council presented its initial findings on the possibility of venturing into oil palm production in the coastal towns of Davao Oriental.
Dr. Pablito P. Pamplona, a palm oil production expert and the head secretary of the Council, said oil palm is a lucrative industry that can help boost the economy of the coastal towns in the province that were once devastated by typhoon Pablo and the recent calamities.

Pamplona said yields in oil palm farming start within two and a half years with the succeeding harvests in every 15 days and a yield potential of over 60 tons of fresh fruit bunches in every hectare.
“With the application of high-yielding technologies, farmers could earn a much higher income than with most other crops,” Pamplona stressed.
Oil palm production is different from other high valued crops such as coconut, he added.
For her part, given the situation of the agriculture sector after the calamities hit the area, Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon is optimistic in pushing through oil palm production in the province.
“Considering Davao Oriental as one of the areas with high suitability to oil palm production, the Provincial Government believes that this could be the province’s answer in achieving a progressive economy and development in rural communities,” Governor Malanyaon said in the statement.

She also encouraged the farmers to seize the opportunity and share their efforts in helping themselves recover from the devastations of recent calamities.
Present during the consultation was AGUMIL Philippines which plans to invest in oil palm production in the province.
The company said it would only require around 4,000 hectares of oil palm plantation to set up a processing plant.
The consultation also became a venue where financing scheme on oil palm production was presented to the farmers by lending institutions.
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