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PIA Press Release

Pag-asa validates sites for installing early warning devices

By Bong Pedalino

MAASIN CITY (5 October) -- A 4-member team from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) practically went around this city and the other 18 towns of the province for one whole week to validate proposed locations where an early warning system is to be put in place.

Armando Taruc, Sr. Weather Specialist and head of the visiting team, appeared before the Provincial Development Council (PDC) meeting here Wednesday, October 4, and reported the extent of their validation work.

He said, in jest, that in the course of their work he experienced for the first time riding in a "habal-habal" (single motorcycle as mode of transport for interior places in upland villages) and walked two hours just to reach a particular spot.

He then reported with accompanying pictures in a powerpoint presentation that among the early warning devices they planned to install were rain gauges which are of two kinds, manual and automatic, water level markings under the bridges crossing turbulent rivers during bad weather, and tide gauge markings at water-submerged posts in shipping ports.

Every town and city has been assured of at least two rain gauges and one water level measurement markings, Taruc said, but he added that in Saint Bernard all barangays are set to get at least one rain gauge each.

Taruc counted 18 manual rain gauges and 23 automatic rain gauges to be set up in various strategic locations around the province.

Rain gauges are said to be effective instruments to warn people to leave the area when a certain level is reached after days of incessant rains which can trigger mudslides and landslides in vulnerable mountain slope.

In other provinces they went into, Taruc said the local government units paid for the rain gauges they installed, but for Southern Leyte the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) footed the bill due to the harrowing Guinsaugon incident.

A manual rain gauge cost P5,000 apiece, manufactured locally but sanctioned by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), while the automatic ones cost P9,000 apiece but more sophisticated because of its digital make-up, Taruc disclosed.

In a brief chat with PIA after his talk, Taruc said they validated more than half of the proposed sites, and added that they will be back by November for the actual installation of the early warning devices.

The PAG-ASA team excused themselves shortly after the presentation to get back to their home office in Manila. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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