Press Release
July 21, 2010


Despite our efforts to improve our weather forecasting facilities in the wake of Ondoy and Pepeng, the recent devastation and tragic loss of life caused by Basyang is a clear sign that our capability to predict extreme weather occurrences are still inadequate. Senator Edgardo J. Angara emphasized this during the recent meeting of the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), which he chairs.

PAGASA has already admitted that it is operating with insufficient technology to allow it to monitor and gauge the severity of storms, thus limiting its capability to make accurate predictions and ultimately leaving the country vulnerable to the storms that threaten it.

Angara said the current uproar over the deficiencies of PAGASA is an understandable knee-jerk reaction and should not be ignored; however the solution to this problem does not lie in pointing fingers and blaming the agency for its failures.

"We need to adopt a pro-active approach in order to properly address this problem. A scientific approach supported by extensive research has already led me to appropriate PHP 100M from the budget for the establishment of a Philippine Disaster Science Center, roughly PHP40M of which is allocated for a proposed Disaster Management Training Center," he said.

These two projects were identified as national priorities by experts from the COMSTE, which is the embodiment of a new paradigm for innovation that harnesses the expertise of leaders from government, academe and industry.

This Public-Private Partnership proposed the creation of these centers to expedite the enhancement of weather forecasting and preparedness by utilizing technology and fostering cooperation with our ASEAN neighbors that share the challenges we face with natural calamities.

"Already we have sent personnel to Japan for training in order to learn from their experiences and transfer their knowledge to our shores. We have been working closely with Taiwan exchanging ideas and experiences to better prepare for future calamities. Korea has also expressed their desire to participate in our endeavors," he said.

Angara added, "It is within our capabilities to equip ourselves with a scientific, technology driven solution to disaster preparedness. Our efforts should now focus on expediting the establishment of these centers which can minimize the damage caused by the onslaught of these natural calamities."

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