In times of calamities, media should be anchors of stability (PIA)

By: Roi Lomotan

CEBU CITY, September 3 (PIA) – “In times of calamities, media should be anchors of stability,” a speaker said in a 3-day seminar workshop on weather patterns, climate change, weather forecasting, disaster risk reduction management and other programs and services of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA-7) at the Sarrosa International Hotel, Cebu City recently.

PAGASA information office chief, Venus Valdemoro said, the seminar-workshop is one of the key programs of the weather bureau in information dissemination of their services to the public and to strengthen ties with the local media.

Some 25 Media practitioners in Central Visayas attended the workshop.

“We recognize the partnership we have with the media because they are our link to the public,” Valdemoro added.

She noted that it is important to inform the members of the media on the developments on their products and services so that they can also share these to the public.

Weather specialists from PAGASA, Sharon Arruejo discussed the agency’s services such as rainfall warning and decision support system program and the comprehensive flood mitigation management which are useful in disaster mitigation during calamities.

Arruejo said the agency always announces thunderstorm advisories and rainfall alerts through the website, social media accounts and through media as part of its rainfall warning measures.

Another Weather Specialist, Rosalie Pagulayan said PAGASA also creates flood hazard maps as part of its flood mitigation program.

She said the agency closely monitors 18 major river basins throughout the country for possible overflow during typhoons.  Most of these river basins are in Luzon and in Mindanao.

However, Central Visayas, specifically Cebu is not inclined to  experience severe flooding like in Metro Manila and other provinces in Luzon and Mindanao due to lack of river basins that could overflow during typhoons, Pagulayan added.

Aside from PAGASA services, the seminar-workshop also stressed media’s role in disaster risk reduction management.

Veteran broadcaster Mario Garcia, one of the speakers emphasized to the participants that media should be accurate and simple in reporting disaster incidents during calamities.

He also said that the roles of media during disaster incidents are to give inspiration and motivation to people and challenge them especially the local leaders to do steps in preventing damages once another calamity strikes in their areas.

Participants were also briefed on the services offered by the Project NOAH of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Project NOAH Officer Mary Joy Gonzales explained the features of the NOAH website which exhibits the topography and the natural hazard a certain part of the country may experience. These include flooding and landslides.

NOAH website also displays actual typhoon track and the rainfall amount in the country.

She also said that the data in the NOAH website comes from the data generated by the Doppler radars of PAGASA.

Gonzales admitted that the NOAH Website is still undergoing developments but she hopes that once more weather sensors are installed in the different parts of the country they will be able to present more accurate data.

She invited everyone to visit the Noah website at the www.noah.dost.gov.ph or download their NOAH and ARKO applications in googleplay and app store for those using smartphones. The ARKO app is more focused on flood hazards.

Apart from these topics media practitioners were also taught on basic meteorology, weather forecasting and climate variability and climate change.

There was also a consultation for the implementing rules and regulations of the Philippine Standard Time Act and a lecture of R.A. 10344. (mbcn/RAL/PIA7-Negros Oriental)

This article was originally published in the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) website on September 3, 2013

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