THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-6 regional office ended the year 2017 with a focus group discussion for selected Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Officers and Deployment of Early Warning Systems (DEWS) Project Stakeholders from Western Visayas last Dec 28-29, 2017 at District 21 Hotel, Iloilo City.
The event aimed to provide the participants with updates and at the same time gather feedback and suggestions as regards the said project which ended in 2017.
DOST-6 Regional Director Engr. Rowen R. Gelonga said the agency solicited feedback from different DRRM Officers in Western Visayas.
“We would like to spend the time to talk to different DRRM Officers and from the stakeholders of these projects which we have been implementing for the region. We would like to come up with an activity to gain an honest-to-goodness feedback from you because we are finishing all these projects,” Gelonga said.
‘‘This is very necessary because we are getting a lot of projects. We will have a transition in 2018 and all these facilities will be turned over to PAGASA,” he added.
DEWS is a project undertaken in cooperation with the Philippines Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA) and DOST Regional Offices. It involves the installation of hydrometeorological devices (hydromets) such as Automated Rain Gauge (ARG) and Water Level Monitoring Station (WLMS) in different river systems and secondary tributaries to provide data that will be useful in protecting the lives, property, and livelihood in various communities.
To complement these systems of hydrometeorological devices, an early warning system composed of sirens or beacons will be installed in communities affected by floods. The use of sirens or beacons as early warning devices for natural hazards is one of global best practices in informing unsuspecting communities thus improving disaster risk reduction.
Gelonga assured that in 2018, DOST-6 will continue to maintain DRRM Unit and hopes that LGUs will invest in its equipment.
“We are hoping the Local Government Unit can invest in our own equipment. When you invest in equipment later on, (because you all have calamity funds and the utilization of calamity funds is very strict due to the laws that are implemented) I am hoping you invest in our own sensors and it should be connected to DOST grid so we don’t come up with a lot of networks since weather monitoring is essentially a community effort, it’s a complex system,” he said.
“These equipment are not very expensive. One investment can be a big help because it can connect to different facilities.’’
Gelonga also mentioned that DOST-6 will be initiating certain projects at the regional level and will be discussing with stakeholders what other projects could be still implemented at the level of its DRRM Unit.
To date, DOST-6 had installed an additional 23 hydromet stations and 12 sirens in the region under the Deployment of Early Warning System (DEWS) Project.
Since 2011, more than 150 hydromet stations have already been installed in the region which can be monitored through the locally developed Bantay Panahon web-based monitoring tool.
This monitoring tool which was designed specifically for Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officers of the LGUs complements the existing early warning system in their respective area of responsibilities.
The monitoring tool can be accessed at www.bantaypanahon.dost6.info. (DOST-6/J.R.A.Gabiota)