Worsening weather disturbances and the wrath of Typhoon Yolanda prompted the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to lay down the blueprint for a responsive disaster management initiative. Said blueprint is now freely shared through the conduct of an campaign dubbed “Iba na ang Panahon: Science for Safer Communities.”
Said campaign is participated in by key people who make decisions during emergencies, namely local chief executives and disaster risk reduction officers.
The DOST launched its campaign since March 3 this year following the directive of President Benigno S. Aquino III to implement an effective disaster management program. The first leg of the campaign took off in Central Luzon at the Oxford Hotel in Clark Field, Angeles City, Pampanga. It was attended by governors, mayors, vice mayors, councilors and local disaster managers from the provinces of Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac, Bataan, Zambales, Aurora and Nueva Ecija.
Two months after its launch, the campaign last May 5 reached Northern Luzon with more than 200 participants from the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan and La Union, including officials of local government agencies and representatives of local and national media outfits.
One of the topics that drew interest among the media during the press conference were DOST’s
NOAH program and UP DREAM. Dr. Mahar Lagmay, program leader, walked the audience through the many features of the NOAH website where weather info is accessible for free 24/7 as well as the downloadable mobile apps.
“The NOAH program has many applications aside from providing weather information in real time produced from over 1,000 weather equipment installed all over the Philippines like rain gauges, water level sensors and weather stations,” said Dr. Lagmay.
Further, NOAH encouraged the DOST to work in partnership with other government agencies.
“Sometime in January this year, we were invited by the Department of Public Works and Highways upon the request of Secretary Rogelio Singson to orient their regional directors and officers about NOAH and the DREAM project,” Dr. Lagmay said. “Now, we are closely working with them and provide them hazard maps and other vital information so they can identify where to construct roads, bridges, dams and other infrastructures.”
Also present during the Iba na ang Panahon campaign were OCD Regional Director Melchito M. Castro, DILG Regional Director Julie J. Daquioag, and DOST Region 1 Director Armando Ganal. After the La Union leg, the Iba na ang Panahon campaign runs to Baguio City at the Albergo Hotel on May 8-9 to brief the mayors on the DOST products for disaster mitigation and risk management like Project NOAH and DREAM. Expected participants are local chief executives and disaster managers from the provinces of Benguet, Mt. Province, Kalinga, Apayao, Abra and Ifugao.