Press Release
July 27, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara renewed calls for technological improvements to the country's disaster risk reduction strategies in light of torrential rains brought by Tropical Storm "Juaning" (International Name: Nock-ten).

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), "Juaning" has already claimed 15 lives and affected around 650,000 people.

"There are clear shortcomings in our capabilities to deal with natural disasters. Ondoy and Pepeng should have been adequate wake-up calls for us to act immediately and smartly on reducing our exposure to disaster," Angara said.

In 2009, typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng resulted in around 1,000 casualties and around P30 billion in total damages.

President Benigno Aquino III commended the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services (PAGASA) in his second State of the Nation Address for giving timely warnings. However, Albay Governor Joey Salceda has complained that PAGASA did not include the province when it issued on Monday afternoon at risk of being hit by the typhoon.

Before Juaning made landfall, almost a month's worth of rainfall had already fallen in Albay.

"Granted that weather forecasting is in itself a very complex activity, we still need to leverage our own expertise with advanced technologies to boost PAGASA's capabilities in forecasting which regions will be affected by future weather disturbances," said Angara.

A bill seeking to modernize PAGASA is currently being reviewed by the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, which Angara chairs.

The Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), which Angara also chairs, has made the establishment of a Disaster Science and Management Center (DSMC) a national priority.

The DSMC will be a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) that will use S&T for disaster mitigation and risk reduction.

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