Top 5 awesome things gov't agencies are doing (Rappler)

This article by Anna Oposa was published in Rappler (Posted on 03/13/2013 12:11 AM  | Updated 03/13/2013 9:16 AM)

MANILA, Philippines - Rappler brings you Part 2 of the 10 Awesome Things Government Agencies are doing. You can read Part 1 here.

MANILA, Philippines – Rappler brings you Part 2 of the 10 Awesome Things Government Agencies are doing. You can read Part 1 here.

#5- Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH)

In 2012, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and other government agencies concerned launched NOAH, a project that aims to enable the Filipino people’s capacity to prevent and manage disasters.

The plan includes the installation of 600 automated rain gauges and 400 water level measuring stations for 18 major river basins in the Philippines within two years.

The online component of Project NOAH can be accessed by anyone with Internet connection. The rain intensity and rain volume measures of the hazard maps are translated to warning and evacuation level alarms hours and days ahead of the flood event. Information on NOAH is constantly updated. During the habagat that drowned many parts of Metro Manila in August 2012, Dr. Mahar Lagmay (@nababaha) and @DOST_Pagasa provided real-time updates on Twitter as well.

However, it is important to note that the key to NOAH’s success is for citizens to actually respond and follow the warnings.

#4- Safety and security in Davao City

Davao City’s Public Safety Command Center (PSCC) is reported to be on par with international standards.

There are high-tech, high-res CCTV cameras around key locations in the city that help solve crimes and traffic violations.

The city has its own Twitter account, @TrafficDabaw, which provides real-time traffic updates to Davaoenyos.

Moreover, the PSCC is equipped with a Weather Monitoring and Flood Alert System, which has an Automated Weather Station, river level gauge, and land and sea tracking devices.

The PSCC also works with Central 911, patterned after the US of A’s 911. This provides all types of rescue services, from fire prevention to hazardous materials response.

#3- Pera ng Bayan

Pera ng Bayan is a feedback mechanism that aims to engage Filipinos in becoming active partners in the Department of Finance’s campaign against tax evaders, smugglers, and erring officials.

Through the website and Twitter account of Pera ng Bayan, citizens can report information relevant to graft, improper action, lavish lifestyle and other illegal practices. Information on exemplary performances is most welcome too.

“In 2010, I complained via Twitter that [President Aquino’s] face was used in the immigration arrival card,” shared Ms. Noemi Dado, @momblogger on Twitter and advocate. “The Twitter account replied to me and said they [would] do something [about it]. I noted that the arrival card in next few months did not contain his face,” she said.

#2- TEN Moves! to build 10,000 classrooms

TEN Moves! is a public-private fundraising initiative that aims to build 10,000 classrooms in public schools all over the Philippines by April 2013.

According to the Department of Education (DepEd), the country needs 66,800 classrooms. The Department’s budget and the expected counterpart from local government units can cover about 56,000.

The strategy is to ask two million Filipinos to donate P10 a day for ten months or $10 a month in 10 months for overseas-based donors to fund the building of the 10,000 classrooms. Non-Filipinos are also invited to join, of course.

While there may be a lot of 10s in the fundraising strategy, “TEN” in the campaign name TEN Moves! also stands for The Entire Nation Moves. It’s an example that shows how alive the bayanihan spirit is.

#1- The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) mobile application and Twitter account

These new media outlets of the MMDA have changed the landscape of traffic monitoring and rescue and relief operations in the metro.

For tech-savvy commuters and drivers, checking the mobile app and Twitter account before leaving the house has become a habit. The free MMDA app allows users to view the traffic situation in System, Map, or Line View; see road incidents like construction and accidents that affect normal traffic flow; and read FAQs that are built in the application.

The Twitter account provides real-time updates for traffic, accidents, possible crimes, and flood monitoring advisories. During the August habagat that brought a torrential downpour in Metro Manila, Twitter lifted the tweet quota of the MMDA account so it could continue coordinating relief and rescue operations with private citizens through the hashtags #reliefPH and #floodsPH.

Best of all, the people behind the MMDA Twitter account know how to keep their sense of humor. During Jennifer Lopez’s concert in Manila, the folks behind @MMDA reminded its followers: “@JLo concert 2night at SM MOA. Expect traffic buildup at area as many fans have been waiting for tonight to dance again.”

These are just 10 out of the many good government projects and initiatives happening all over the country. If you know of more, please tweet, post, or blog about them. You can also send a letter to your respective government officials too; they’d surely appreciate a symbolic pat on the back! –


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