Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Albay, DOST ink pact on early warning system
By Nancy Ibo Mediavillo

LEGAZPI CITY, March 7 (PNA) -- A memorandum of agreement on the establishment of an early warning system in Albay was signed between the provincial government and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda and Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevarra of the Department of Science and Technology penned the agreement on Friday during the full-council meeting of the Bicol Regional Development Council (RDC) headed by the governor.

Guevarra said the project is part of the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards or Project NOAH of the DOST, which has a funding of PHP4 billion.

She said the DOST will put up 1,500 sensors in the entire country, covering all provinces, especially those under high threat of calamities like typhoon, flooding, landslide and others.

The DOST official said the project covers the six Bicol provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon.

Under the agreement, Albay will have 12 early warning systems that include automated rain gauges (ARG), automated water level monitoring stations (AWLMS) and ARG/AWLMS tandem.

Guevarra said the project is based on the directive of President Aquino to warning agencies like the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) when typhoon "Pedring" hit the country in 2011, "Pablo" in 2012 and worst supertyphoon "Yolanda" in 2013.

She said the PAGASA should be able to give a six-hour lead time in places under the path of typhoon.

The threats that could be brought by a typhoon are strong winds, flooding and landslide.

The DOST undersecretary stressed the need to use modern technology under Project NOAH.

In this connection, Salceda thanked the DOST for the project.

He said the province has been efficiently working on this aspect of disaster risk reduction and management.

In fact, the climate change expert said, Albay is five-day ahead in monitoring any weather disturbance before it enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility as part of the pre-emptive policy of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of Albay.(PNA) JMC/FGS/NIM/CBD