January 21, 2012
FOLLOW JAPAN'S EXAMPLE IN DISASTER GOVERNANCE
Senator Edgardo J. Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology and Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), underscored the importance of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) in disaster governance.
"We should take full advantage of technology to reduce disaster vulnerability. There is a system that can monitor rain in real-time, as well as a low-cost wave monitoring system that automatically sends an alarm when there is an indication of vertical acceleration," he explained.
He further stressed the vital role of ICT such as the use of the Internet and SMS in sending and requesting relief goods and donations and in providing early warnings for natural disasters like typhoon, landslides and flash floods.
"It is reasonable to assume that it is only a matter of time before we are stricken by another great catastrophe. The science is there telling us that the risk is real. Our experiences in the past couple of decades alone has shown us the fact that our country is prone to disasters, and as such I believe our efforts to create the Disaster Science and Management Center should be fast-tracked," said Angara.
The Disaster Science Management Center (DSMC) is a project of COMSTE which is primed to become a regional training center for disaster preparedness.
"This will not be the run-of-the mill, classroom-lecture type of learning, but an innovative center that harnesses the experiences of nations used to dealing with disasters, like Japan, which will help teach their hard earned lessons to our LGU's and those of other countries as well," said Angara.
Earlier this month, Angara visited Japan to attend the 20th Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF). During the summit, he sought the support of the Japanese government in the establishment of a disaster science management in the country. He also lauded Japan's disaster risk reduction efforts and urged the other delegates to likewise invest in risk management mechanisms
"As Japan has demonstrated, there is no better remedy to a natural disaster than preparedness. We may always try to contain, avoid or mitigate their strength but the wrath of nature will always inflict societal and financial costs. Those costs, and not the disaster themselves, can be mitigated, if not avoided. Investing in these risk management mechanisms must always be a priority," he stressed.
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