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MANILA, Philippines -- The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is monitoring a tropical storm off Mindanao that it said has the potential of strengthening into a typhoon.
Undersecretary Benito Ramos, NDRRMC executive director, said the storm is still outside the Philippine area of responsibility but could enter the country next week. Citing data from state forecasters, Ramos said the storm, which has the international name "Bopha," was last tracked 1,600 kilometers east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.
Once it enters Philippine area, the storm will be named "Pablo."
At this time, the storm is still off Chuuk Island and barreling towards Palau.
The storm may affect Eastern Mindanao including the Surigao and Agusan provinces, Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, Ramos said, although it could also change course in the coming days, Ramos said.
The storm is moving at 15 kilometers per hour and has winds of up to 90 kph.
Ramos advised Mindanao residents to stay on alert.