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PIA Press Release
Saturday, January 28, 2012


Feature: Public-private partnership boosts disaster mitigation efforts in WV

by Jaime S. Cabag, Jr.

ILOILO CITY, Jan. 28 (PIA6) -- The partnership between the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and telecommunications company SMART Communications is boosting the efforts of the government to reduce the risks and mitigate the effects of any disaster in Western Visayas.

The partnership recently enabled DOST 6 to obtain five Automatic Rain Gauges (ARG) from SMART during a turnover ceremony held recently here. SMART also handed in to DOST a donation of PhP345,000.00 to fund the installation of Automatic Water Level Sensors.

DOST Regional Director Engr. Rowen Gelonga said the equipment provided by the telecommunications company will be deployed by DOST for the Weather Monitoring System in the Tigum-Aganan River System in Iloilo, which was also “soft-launched” during the recent event here.

DOST is the vice chair of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council for disaster prevention and mitigation.

Also involved in the partnership are the municipalities of Alimodian, San Miguel, Sta. Barbara, Pavia, Cabatuan and Maasin located along the Tigum-Aganan river systems.

The Tigum-Aganan river system project, which will be implemented this year, will involve the installation of 3 AWLS in the towns of Maasin and Pavia and in Jaro, Iloilo City as well as 2 ARGs, also in Maasin and Pavia.

An additional ARG will be established in the town of San Miguel along the Aganan River.

The three AWLS will be installed also along Aganan River in the towns of Alimodian, San Miguel and Sta. Barbara.

The equipment donated by SMART are an addition to weather monitoring gadgets already installed by the agency in the region, which consist of 12 Automated Weather Stations (AWS) and 10 ARGs.

The turnover and launching activities were graced by Iloilo City Congressman Jerry Trenas, Ramon Isberto, head of SMART Public Affairs Group, and municipal mayors led by Alimodian local chief executive Juanito Alipao, who chairs the Tigum-Aganan Watershed Management Board.

Gelonga said the project is part of the national program involving the deployment of weather monitoring equipment in line with DOST’s efforts to assist in disaster risk reduction through real-time information about weather conditions especially in flood-prone areas.

The equipment donated by SMART and those already installed by DOST have certain weather monitoring capabilities.

Automated weather stations are monitoring stations equipped with different sensors capable of measuring the following: wind speed and direction; air temperature, humidity and pressure; and rainfall amount, duration and intensity.

On the other hand, ARGs are capable of gathering and recording the amount of rainfall over a set period of time and transmit these using telecommunications technology to DOST headquarters. Selected ARGs can measure air pressure.

AWLS will monitor the amount of rainfall as well as measure water level in the river system, in this case, at Tigum and Aganan rivers.

Earlier, the DOST 6 head said that when all of the equipment are fully operational particularly at the Tigum-Aganan river system, these can hopefully assist towards disaster preparedness during flooding and heavy rainfall.

On the part of SMART, Isberto said they are happy to partner with the DOST in order to help improve the disaster preparedness capabilities of the region.

“We are glad to be DOST6’s service provider of choice in making sure critical information like rainfall and river level data get collected and transmitted on time,” he said.

Iloilo has had experiences with disasters, including the devastating effects of typhoon “Frank” in 2008 which caused massive flooding in Iloilo and damaged properties and affected thousands of families. (JCM/JSC/PIA6)

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