Press Release
November 13, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara called for the fast modernization of the disaster monitoring and management system in the country, citing the recently released 2011 Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) that placed the Philippines 10th among countries in "extreme risk" of climate change.

Collated by risk analysis firm Maplecroft, the CCVI 2012 also describes Manila as "extremely vulnerable" to climate-change driven floods and typhoons, noting a combination of exposure to hazards, poor socio-economic factors and a slow capacity to adapt.

"The report highlights that we should expand our infrastructure and civic amenities fast enough to cope with population growth," said Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology. "But we should also get the brightest minds thinking about this problem for us, and equip them with the necessary tools."

The veteran lawmaker said that leaders in the Philippines should look at the experience of Thailand and their response to widespread flooding that has already affected over 10 million people in Bangkok and other parts of the country.

Thailand's Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) recently partnered to form a Geo-Informatics Operation System and Satellite Data Centre as a venue for concerned government authorities to utilize remote sensing technologies in decision-making for disaster management.

"Our Thai neighbors had the initiative to collaborate and deploy the necessary S&T in the midst of such devastating floods. Let's not wait for another typhoon to hit our shores before we expedite our current efforts to modernize our disaster management systems," stressed Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

COMSTE recently proposed the formation of an innovation cluster--a three-way partnership among government, the academe and industry--as a venue for deploying advanced S&T like satellite imaging and ICT to improve the country's capacity for disaster management.

Angara asked that P60 million be allocated from the 2012 budget for the formation of such a cluster. The amount falls under Angara's proposal for P300 million in Research and Development (R&D) spending.

The funds will be sourced from the budget allocations of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technologies Research and Development (PCIEERD), and the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO).

"We need to act decisively if we are to reduce the risks and adapt to the hazards posed by climate change. P60 million is only a fraction of what we will save from protecting our crops, our industries and our people," explained Angara.

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