Press Release
July 19, 2010

Thinking ahead, Senator Legarda files the PAGASA Modernization Act

In light of July being the National Disaster Consciousness Month and with the onset of the series of typhoons that have started devastating our country, Senator Loren Legarda believes that this is an opportune time for the government to step up in its efforts to deal with the natural disasters, even before they occur.

"The science is clear. There is consensus among the scientific community that climate change is already happening and will worsen in the years to come. Natural disasters will be turbo-charged by this changing climate and will lead to more intense storms and excessive drought. We have experienced it with Ondoy, Pepeng and now the unusual storm named, Basyang. The question is: how will the Philippines proactively act and adapt to these aggravated calamities?" Senator Legarda asks.

As Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for the Asia-Pacific, Senator Legarda reminds the government that it has to undertake more effective disaster mitigation, disaster preparedness and disaster response measures. "The most important element is putting up an accurate disaster detection system and implementation of an effective early warning device and communications system."

She reminds the government to learn from its past experiences, "The degree of devastation that Ondoy brought was precisely because of the lack of an effective early warning system. Our equipment and communications systems are outdated and inadequate to effectively predict typhoons and point out with accuracy where they will hit, as we've experienced now with Basyang. This inadequacy increases the vulnerability of the people, the environment and our country's economy."

PAGASA predicted that Basyang would only hit Central Luzon and that the possibility that it would pass by Manila was small. However, by 11 p.m. of Tuesday, PAGASA belatedly raised the storm signal warning over Metro Manila to Number 2.

Thinking way ahead of the problem, the lady senator has already filed Senate Bill No. 1406 or the PAGASA Modernization Act of 2010, which will create a PAGASA Modernization Fund amounting to P5 billion to be used exclusively to finance the implementation of the modernization program, particularly the acquisition of modern equipment and communication systems, providing for the necessary informational requirements, not including the increase in the salaries and allowances.

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