By: Allan Mauro V. Marfal, S&T Media Service, STII
The Department of Science and Technology will work together with Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and Sun Cellular to improve the communication system in the DOST-developed disaster preparedness system in the country.
The collaboration was formalized in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on March 16, 2012 at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel to be led by DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo, SMART President and CEO Napoleon L. Nazareno, and Sun Cellular President and CEO Orlando B. Vea.
In the MOU, DOST, Smart, and Sun committed to collaborate in helping the public access information from the DOST’s monitoring system installed in key points across the country. The three partners have agreed to share their core competencies to help reduce the risks of vulnerable communities from rain-triggered hazards.
“DOST’s collaboration with Smart and Sun demonstrates the effectiveness of public-private partnerships in addressing issues of common concern such as disaster preparedness,” Secretary Montejo said. We need to do this to make our people and their properties safe.”
DOST is implementing a two-year river basin approach project called the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH)Program, involving 18 major river basins in the country. the program is designed to set up a more responsive disaster preparedness system to reduce, if not eliminate, human casualties from rain-triggered natural hazards.
For the program, DOST will design systems, including the deployment of sensors, to improve flood monitoring and mitigation. These instruments will be installed in the cell sites of Smart and Sun located in key areas within the 18 target river basins.
Smart and Sun also committed to design and implement communications solutions for the early warning, feedback and reporting requirements of DOST’s program. The three partners also committed to share data and other information derived from the said program.
DOST’s NOAH Program aims to respond to the urgent need for a reliable flood warning system in all major river systems and watersheds in the country. It has seven major components, namely: Hydromet Sensors Development, DREAM-LiDAR, FloodNET, Hazard Information Media, Landslides and Geohazards, Doppler System Development, and Coastal Erosion and Storm Surge.
The program was launched recently after President Benigno Aquino III issued directives to concerned government agencies to step up national efforts toward greater and more intensive disaster risk reduction and management procedures in the wake of Typhoon Sendong.
This article was originally published in the first quarter 2012 issue of the S&T Post.