The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) needs additional equipment to further improve its monitoring capabilities on volcanic and seismic activities, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said.
“There is a need to augment and enhance the monitoring and warning capabilities of Phivolcs,” the DOST said in a statement.
Citing Phivolcs chief Dr. Teresito Bacolcol, the DOST noted that the Philippines has 24 active volcanoes and 27 potentially-active volcanoes.
“Of the 24 active volcanoes, only 10 are currently being monitored, and only two of these 10 are equipped with all the required station types,” it noted.
The DOST also noted that “there is a need to increase the density of the Institute’s seismic stations to better understand future earthquake occurrences."
Phivolcs has “mapped numerous active faults dividing densely populated cities, and in the last 10 years, these faults have generated a total of seven major earthquakes and several strong earthquakes,” the DOST said.
“There is, therefore, a need to increase the density of the Institute’s seismic stations to better understand future earthquake occurrences,” it added.
With this, the DOST expressed its support to the proposed measure that seeks to modernize Phivolcs.
The DOST said that Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda recently filed House Bill No. 6921 that “aims to enhance the capability and human resource complement of the agency to better provide timely and quality information and services for warning, disaster preparedness, and mitigation of events arising from volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunami and other related geotectonic phenomena.”
The bill seeks to allow the upgrading of equipment, facilities, and system of Phivolcs, the DOST said.
“This will allow the institute to provide useful and more accurate volcanic and seismological data and localized warning and information services to be used in decision-making in disaster preparedness,” the agency said.
“The bill also provides better incentives for institute personnel and additional plantilla positions to expand its pool of experts. This includes the creation of a new salary scale, a retention incentive, and an enhanced human resource development program,” it added.
If passed into law, Phivolcs “will have more volcano and seismic monitoring stations equipped with state-of-art systems and facilities to ensure early warning of volcanic activity and to better understand future earthquake occurrences,” the DOST said.
“This also includes an enhanced technology-based data center consistent with international standards and additional competent personnel to foster a more responsive information dissemination collaboration with the local government units (LGUs) to help in the disaster planning, preparation, and disaster mitigation in the communities,” it added.
To note, Phivolcs is an attached agency of the DOST.