Press Release
July 29, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara pointed out yesterday the need to modernize the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration's (PAGASA), in light of the onslaught of Tropical Storm Juaning (International Name: Nock-ten) this week.

This follows President Benigno Aquino III's statement in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) that PAGASA has improved its ability to forecast weather in the country.

"It is time for the government to invest in the modernization of PAGASA, not only in terms of technological capacity, but also in the training of our people to make sure that we have experts who could make weather forecasts as accurately as possible," said Angara.

As of Thursday, reports show that 600, 000 families have been affected, 31 casualties, and 27 injured as a result of Typhoon Juaning. The cost of damages is still being estimated.

The Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education was also forced to cancel classes for two days. Several businesses also ended up canceling work.

"Every time a typhoon strikes us, we lose so much money, but more than that, we lose so many lives unnecessarily. At this time and age, given the technologies available to us, this is inexcusable."

The World Bank reports that the country's vulnerability to such calamities equate to an average of P15 Billion in direct damages, about 0.5 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP). In 2009, damages brought by Ondoy and Pepeng reached about 2.7 percent.

Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), has since then led efforts towards the creation of The Philippine Disaster Science and Management Center (DSMC), aside from working on the modernization of PAGASA.

The DSMC will be a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) that uses science and technology (S&T) in disaster mitigation and risk reduction, rather than the current practice of emergency response.

"There is so much potential not just in avoiding disasters, but in using these towards our favor. We should maximize these instead of allowing it to hamper our growth", he says.

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