Written by Mona Carina E. Montevirgen & George Robert E. Valencia III, S&T Media Service, DOST-STII
Tuesday, 26 March 2013 12:23
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has sealed an agreement with the country’s biggest cable provider alliance, the Philippine Cable Television Association, Inc. (PCTA), to create “DOSTv”, a 24/7 cable weather information channel to complement the services of DOST’s main weather agency, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
DOSTv shall broadcast accurate and up-to-date weather information of PAGASA, along with hourly satellite and Doppler images and weather sensors data from the Program NOAH website. NOAH, or the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards, is DOST’s flagship program for disaster preparedness under the directive of President Benigno Aquino III.
The partnership between DOST and PCTA was formalized through the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) recently during the PCTA 2013 Convention at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
“This partnership significantly contributes to our ongoing efforts to mitigate the destructive effects of natural calamities such as typhoons and monsoon rains under the backdrop of climate change”, said DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo.
DOSTv will be administered by the Department’s information arm, the Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII) and is scheduled to debut this May 2013, to be carried by around 90 percent of PCTA’s cable franchisers. PCTA has more than 300 cable provider members all over the archipelago, according to PCTA Chairman Engr. Elpidio M. Paras.
Apart from DOSTv, PCTA members in the MOA also agree to host stations weather data gathering sensors, servers, and equipment to be provided by PAGASA, especially for its regional offices’ unreached areas and to improve the weather agency’s forecast capabilities.
“This is an important milestone for the cable industry as it is for the economy. Our lives are greatly affected by weather and climate, especially those in the regions whose primary source of income is agriculture”, PCTA Chairman Paras.
DOST-STII Director Raymund E. Liboro meanwhile stressed that “now is the time to look for means to increase the risk perception, mitigate the hazard, and prepare communities” as unprecedented meteorological events have recently struck the country.
Program NOAH Executive Director Dr. Mahar Lagmay presented during said convention a brief shocking footage of people being swept away to their deaths by even a knee-level flashflood.
“Had these people known the danger of an impending flashflood, they would have run in time for safety,” he said. “It is what we’re trying to avoid—the surprise—for it is what causes disasters and loss of lives. We simply cannot stress enough the importance of information.”
PCTA Chairman Paras also cited the importance of collaboration with weather and disaster experts, noting Cagayan de Oro’s recent linkage with PAGASA and Program NOAH. According to him, the linkage spurred by Cagayan de Oro’s devastating experience with typhoon Sendong enabled a two-hour warning before typhoon Pablo of last year hit the city, and resulted in zero casualties. An unprepared neighbor, Compostela Valley, unfortunately, was left with a many fatalities, he said.
This post was originally published in the DOST website on March 26, 2013