Saturday, May 31, 2014

Ochoa bares inroads in Aquino Administration’s disaster monitoring systems, preparedness

MANILA, May 31 (PIA) - The government is close to completing the integrated flood warning system (IFEWS) covering 18 leading river systems around the country and the installation of some 1,000 automated weather sensors along rivers and watersheds that will give local government units and communities at least a six-hour warning for impending floods, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Friday.

Speaking before participants of “Iba na ang Panahon: Science for Safer Communities-Early Warning, Early Action” gathering, Ochoa noted the inroads the administration made in the field of disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) through the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in response to President Benigno Aquino III’s policy to tap science-based tools to reduce the impacts of calamities in the country.

The DOST, in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD), has started the information, education and communication campaign in the National Capital Region as part of efforts to enhance the capacity and ability of local government units and disaster managers in disaster risk reduction and mitigation in the face of the increasing occurrence of mega disasters, including Super Typhoon Yolanda last year.

According to Ochoa, the public can expect the completion of IFEWS – a direct result of DOST’s initiative under PAGASA, Project Noah and DREAM – in two years. “This is quite a feat considering that in the past 40 years only five river systems had a flood warning system in place. What has not been done in the past 40 years, we will complete in just two years.”

The completion of IFEWS is crucial in providing DRRM officers, LGUs and communities the ample time to prepare and a graphical understanding of the full extent of the floods that may come their way, he said.

Additionally, Ochoa said the DOST has established its Intelligent Operations Center (IOC) that will provide a dramatic lift in government’s national capability in making forecasts more predictive and relevant in terms of predicting impacts on communities.  Through the IOC, a storm’s path can be projected and laid over thematic maps containing vital information that can give a view of the potential damage a storm would bring to affected areas.

“This will be helpful in arriving at a forward estimate of how much relief goods need to be prepositioned or even how many GI sheets need to be in stock even before a storm arrives,” Ochoa said.

The Executive Secretary also noted the establishment of the Philippine National Earthquake and Tsunami Monitoring and Communication System by the Philippine Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) which is deemed to serve as an early warning protocol using state-of-the-art equipment.

To date, PHIVOLCS has 69 seismic network covering the entire country, which will be increased to 85 seismic network by 2016 and to be supported by smart sensors for earthquake monitoring.

Under the tsunami early warning system are the tsunami scenario database, tsunami hazard mapping for Metro Manila, Bolinao Tsunami Detection, Lingayen Warning System, Corregidor Tidal Gauge Station and the sea-level detection sensors.

“We continue to find better solutions for an effective disaster risk reduction management system. To be successful in our efforts to mitigate disasters, we must remain steadfast and proactive by bringing down science-based knowledge products to the communities at risk,” Ochoa said.

At this point, Ochoa challenged LGU executives and local DRRM officers to continue to play their crucial roles in times disaster and crisis.

“Now, the challenge rests on our shoulders. We now have all these science-based tools and technologies. But these are all nothing if we do not use them,” he said. “Remember that you perform dual responsibilities: that you are the first receiver of information and you are also the first responder in times of crisis.” (DOST STIIPR/PIA-Caraga)


Lease agreement between CUMTA, Agnor ok’d

By Aimee B. Sienes

BUTUAN CITY, May 31 (PIA) - The 16th Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Norte approved on its 43rd Regular Session the lease agreement between Caraga United Muslim Traders Association (CUMTA) and the provincial government to put in place the stalls and start the selling of various goods.

Said area of 300 square meters is located outside the Motorpool in the Capitol area.

Gov. Ma. Angelica Rosedell M. Amante-Matba was authorized by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan through Sangguniang Resolution No. 110-2014, authored by Provincial Board Member Danny M. Moran, to sign the lease agreement with CUMTA represented by Datu Monadato S. Ebra.

Under the said lease agreement, illegal business transactions are prohibited, as well as the operation of videoke and selling of liquors. It is also provided that it is the responsibility of the CUMTA to ensure the proper sanitation of the area.

An additional income for the province in the amount of One Hundred Eighty Thousand Pesos (P180,000.00) is expected for the one year term of the lease agreement. (LGU Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)