Press Release
May 20, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara said that the government should look at the way the Japanese have embraced disaster preparedness and replicate their efforts locally so as to better secure the populace against earthquakes, typhoons and similar disasters.

Angara, who Chairs the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), said that the commission has identified disaster science as a national priority.

COMSTE is a main proponent of the Philippine Disaster Science Management Center (DSMC), which will pool local and foreign expertise and create a strategic plan to handle disasters. The center will utilize the experience and expertise of foreign experts that have faced similar disasters in countries like Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

Angara noted that the Japanese have recognized the inevitability of natural calamities and have been working to build a resilient society, where the government and private sector all work together to save lives.

He noted that their preparation and management is probably what kept the loss of life from the recent earthquake that hit Japan relatively low.

The United Nations is currently convening the Third Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva, and it identified that the global trend in government spending is aimed more at relief than actual prevention. Reports from the UN also show that in the first quarter of this year, worldwide cost due to disasters was near $350 billion.

Angara said that the DSMC is specifically targeting the use of advanced planning and technology to aid in prevention and the creation of more resilient communities in poverty stricken areas, which are the most vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters.

The DSMC will also bank on international collaboration. Collaborations with The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the Disaster Management Society of Taiwan (DMST), and local partners like the Manila Observatory (MO) are shaping the foundations of disaster science in the Philippines, added Angara.

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