Press Release
September 6, 2010


During the recently held Senate Committee on Science and Technology (S&T) hearing on improving the weather forecasting and disaster warning capabilities of PAG-ASA and NDCC, Senator Edgardo J. Angara called on government S&T agencies to actively pursue international collaboration and foreign grants to improve both equipment and manpower.

"There are plenty of opportunities for international collaboration to improve the technical and manpower capability of our S&T institutions. We should pursue them aggressively. In terms of international consortia, we can partner with Taiwan, Korea and Japan who have advanced weather forecasting and disaster prediction capabilities," Angara urged.

The S&T hearing, which Angara headed as Chair of the committee, brought to light the problems plaguing the country's science and research institutions. Interestingly, several of of these agencies reported the existence of various foreign grants and international partnerships available to aid in the modernization of our research and disaster warning systems.

"There are so many grants available, there are aid agencies everywhere. But it's a competition for precious dollars. We have to organize ourselves and come up with a plan, because no country will ever give you a voluntary grant if you can't present a good program," Angara said.

Angara also called for the proper utilization of existing grants to the Philippines.

These contributions include the $3-million project funded by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) for the Pasig-Marikina river basin and Japan's P2.095-billion grant to improve the country's radar systems, to build better bridges and provide master's degree scholarships through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Both were established in 2009.

In 2008, the PAG-ASA received a $381,000 grant from the USA and a P17-million endowment from Australia to update its weather forecasting equipment and enhance its early-warning system, as well as to add to the natural disaster management resources.

"The government needs to be smart about utilizing these funds. It's not enough that we receive assistance from other countries or aid agencies. We ought to have something to show for it," he said.

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