MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Soon, a storm's name could be as loathsome as the heavy rainfall it would bring.
An online petition is asking the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) to name storms after corrupt public officials.
The petition comes after news of a "pork barrel scam" – the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of senators and congressmen – made headlines.
Online user Ismael Tomelden of Marikina City started a petition at Change.org entitled "Pagasa: Start Naming Typhoons After Corrupt Politicians and Grafters."
"The devastation they cause is so great, Mother Nature can't even compete with them for the destruction of life and property," said Tomelden.
As of 4:45 pm on Wednesday, September 4, there are 1,619 online users who have signed the petition.
If Pagasa would heed the request, Tomelden hopes that it would be "a constant reminder of how our hard-earned money has been stolen or misspent by corrupt politicians."
The website Change.org was first put up in 2007 by a US-based for-profit company of the same name.
It hosts various "people-powered campaigns for social change" addressed to governments, businesses, organizations, and even famous personalities.
Giving a storm a name
Currently, Pagasa chooses from 4 sets of 25 names – in each set, the names starts with the alphabet except for the letter X. It is assigned to every weather disturbance that enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).
When all names in a set have been exhausted in one calendar year, the national weather bureau takes from an auxiliary list of 10 names, arranged alphabetically from A to J.
Each regular set is re-used every 4 years. Names of storms which have caused extensive damage in the country will be retired and replaced by a new one.
Until 2001, the national weather bureau limited the names to nicknames for Filipino women that end with "-ng."
Now, it includes nicknames for Filipino men and does away with the "-ng" suffix for both male and female names. – Rappler.com
Michael Bueza is a researcher and data curator under Rappler's Research Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.