By Dhel Nazario
With the rainy season in, the resident “faultfinder” of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) stressed the need for the country to be knowledgeable of the right hazard information.
DOST Undersecretary for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Undersecretary Dr. Renato U. Solidum Jr., regards himself as a faultfinder because of his job as a volcanologist.
According to Solidum, having resilient and safer communities is significant for a country in order to adapt to climate change and extreme weather conditions.
In a forum organized by the Presidential Communication Operations Office under the Office of the President, Solidum focused on the accomplishments and plans of the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM-DRR).
Dubbed as “Tatak ng Pagbabago, Tatak ng Katatagan”for Adoptive and Resilient Communities, it was the third in a series of the cabinet cluster forums held in preparation for the upcoming State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
Solidum cited the recent Mayon Volcano eruption as a good example of preparedness which yielded zero casualties.
During the time of the eruption, DOST-PHIVOLCS conducted constant monitoring of the volcano’s activity and provided regular updates to the public.
PAGASA maintains 15 Doppler radars from Aparri, Cagayan in the north to Zamboanga in the south. The agency also has x-band radars in Baler, Aurora, at the PAGASA Science Garden in Quezon City, and in El Salvador, Misamis Oriental. These equipment enable PAGASA to collect real-time data that help come up with accurate weather forecast, especially during typhoons.
Solidum announced that DOST will install 10 additional flood forecasting and warning systems in 10 major river basins: Abulog, Abra, Panay, Ilog-Hilabangan, Agus, Tagoloan, Mindanao, Davao, Buayan-Malungan, and Agusan.
Further, DOST-PHIVOLCS has several seismic stations with the latest four stations located in Cadiz, Guinulngan, Dinagat Island, and Marawi city. Recently installed was the Ibajay Seismic Station at the Aklan State University.
DOST-PHIVOLCS also maintains sea-level monitoring stations for tsunami monitoring, broadband strong motion seismometers, strong motion seismometers, and some 240 intensity meters. The agency has additional sea-level monitoring stations in Basco, Batanes; Lawaan in the Bicol Region; Dumaguete City in the Visayas; and in Kalamansig in Mindanao, and soon in Culasi, Antique.
Meanwhile, some of the tools that DOST-PHIVOLCS currently uses are the Valley Fault System Atlas for Greater Metro Manila with a scale of 1:5,000; the Mayon Volcano Hazard Maps; Rapid Earthquake Damage Assessment System software or REDAS; the Philippine Earthquake Model Atlas, and the Tsunami Monitoring System.
The institute recently implemented the GeoRisk PH, a webGIs platform with mobile app version called Hazard Hunter. This is another innovation from PHIVOLCS after its launch of the Fault Finder app which shows specific areas with active faults.
In the same forum, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu’s report on environmental protection cited the successful cleanup of Boracay, the National Greening Program, and the Mine Environmental Plan for Bagacay Mine in Palawan, for Quicksilver Mines Inc., and for Romblon Marble Mining, among others.
Cimatu also cited the importance of interagency cooperation particularly with the DOST-PAGASA. Because of the efforts of the agency, typhoon-affected families decreased by 43 percent and the cost of damages in infrastructure and agriculture decreased by 79 percent.