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(Feature) Are you disaster-ready?

By Ma. Cristina C. Arayata

MANILA, Dec. 22 (PNA) — "Safety and preparedness are just as important as rescue and relief."

This was emphasized by Antonio Magsumbol of GMA IM Ready Group at the recently concluded media seminar organized by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in Batangas.

He said that safety and preparedness should be done way beyond a possible earthquake and typhoon.

Recognizing that everyone needs to be prepared for disasters, GMA Network has put up the IM Ready campaign, a public service.

"This aims to build a well-informed and preparedness-oriented community," explained Magsumbol, who is also the senior program manager of 24 Oras and head of weather department.

It uses television, radio, website, mobile app and actual activities as platforms. The IM Ready campaign provides updates and tips on weather, traffic, geohazards, personal safety.

The website also features health safety tips. For instance, one would find tips/measures on how to boost the immune system here.

He cited that typhoon "Ondoy" in 2009 has brought a huge change in the country, particularly in Metro Manila. "Not all media agencies have this (IM Ready) kind of group," he added.

The IM Ready has partnered with Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), PAGASA, Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), MRT and PNR.

He said that these agencies are usually the ones affected during calamities. Furthermore, these are the agencies that people consult during disasters.

So far, the group wants to have a resident geologist.

It already has a resident meteorologist, Nathaniel "Mang Tani" Cruz.

Magsumbol clarified that not everything Mang Tani reads comes from PAGASA. Some of the reports come from a provider. "That is why, it is important to mention the source," he noted.

He continued, "For example, he should say, 'Ayon sa ulat ng The Weather Company.'"

This is to avoid confusion as most people think all the weather reports Mang Tani says come from the state weather bureau. (PNA)


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