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DOST IV-A readies “Project Handa” vs. disasters this year

By Saul E. Pa-a

LOS BAŇOS, Laguna, Feb. 20 — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST-IVA) reported recently that its ICT-based innovation system for weather forecast, farm and community news is now trending in the Calabarzon region for early detection of any disaster this year.

While the weather bureau names a storm or typhoon owing to the unavoidable yearly visit by this weather disturbance to the country, the DOST-Calabarzon Information Communications Technology Unit (ICTU) for its part developed the system for the local government units (LGUs) here to deploy locals as administrators in providing weather info and updates.

Adelle Guevarra, DOST-Calabarzon Science and Technology Media Services manager told PNA that the S&T agency developed the ICT-based disaster communication system with the moniker “Project HANDA” for Hazard Notification, Dissemination, and Awareness.

She explained that the system fast-tracks dissemination of disaster-related announcements on earthquake, volcano, and weather bulletins as well as tropical cyclone updates to concerned government agencies in the Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon provinces.

Guevarra also informed that Jala-jala, Rizal is set to install the ICT system early next month after it forged an agreement with DOST IV-A last December.

Five other municipalities in Quezon and Cavite have signified interest to establish the system in their localities.

Calabarzon LGUs’ Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officers (DRRMOs) can access the system at http://drrm.region4a.dost.gov.ph.

The DOST project has since provided local residents an ICT-based approach that makes for immediate, wide coverage and automated data collection and dissemination in the event of an approaching weather system and other impending disasters.

The LGU-Information Dissemination System (IDS) processes all information daily in real time and can generate visual graphics of weather parameters of the area.

With its weather advisory feature, the system hopes to reduce loss of lives and lessen damage to properties.

On the other hand, the farm and other news updates could raise productivity in the community.

The S&T innovation also features short-message sending that enables everyone to access relevant information.

Malvar officials in Batangas inked the agreement with the science agency on June 4 last year to use and administer the system.

Three weeks later in June 25, Carmona in Cavite province also signed with DOST-Calabarzon.

Calamba City, Laguna sealed the joint agreement last December.

Although it was initiated in late 2011, the LGU-Information Dissemination System (LGU-IDS) first operated in Mauban, Quezon in May last year.

Guevarra expressed optimism the DOST Calabarzon system will eventually impact the whole community here since its database and profile will strengthen linkage between local leaders and their constituents.

According to the DOST IV-A media services, the system has already disseminated some 269 weather bulletins among the 278 recipients since June 2011 during the past tropical Storm Chedeng.

It responded to some 1,833 weather-related public inquiries including 3,264 requests for weather bulletins via SMS.

Aside from the ICT-based innovation, the ICT unit constantly works with DOST-PAGASA and DOST-ASTI for the installation of seven Automated Weather Stations and the six automated rain gauges in Calatagan, Batangas and in Infanta, Jomalig, Tayabas, San Francisco, and Catanauan in Quezon province

The DOST-ICTU also assisted website development for Tanauan Packaging Center in Tananuan City, Batangas.

In the regional level, the DOST-Calabarzon sits as Vice Chair for Disaster Prevention and Mitigation with the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council IV-A following the enactment of Republic Act 10121 known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management System. (PNA)

CTB/SEP/AA

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