July 12, 2021
As the rainy season begins in the Philippines, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) announced it will continue its support towards disaster resiliency by helping improve the quality of weather observation, forecasting, warning and information through capacity building for PAGASA personnel.
JICA is currently working with the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) for the second phase of its technical cooperation project for the Capability Enhancement for High Quality Weather Observation, Forecasting, Warning, and Information in the Philippines or JPOW 2. JICA added that it welcomes the start of the project's implementation this June saying the project is valuable in disseminating timely and relevant weather information in the Philippines, especially during rainy and typhoon season.
The Philippines is located in the subtropical monsoon zone which means typhoons often pass through it. Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showed that natural extreme events and disasters cost the Philippines P463 billion between 2010 and 2019. The agriculture sector was found to be worst hit from disasters with damage costs at P290 billion for same period.
"Building on the gains achieved by the project's first phase, JICA would like to continue to contribute in improving PAGASA's capacity of providing high quality weather observation forecast, warning, and information," said JICA Philippines Senior Representative OHSHIMA Ayumu.
The first phase of the project trained 175 PAGASA personnel on calibration and maintenance of weather monitoring instruments and published easy to understand information on typhoons, warning signals, and storm surge for students and teachers.
Through the project's second phase, JICA will share Japan's knowledge and expertise on disaster risk reduction and management and contribute to improving Philippine weather services at the national and local levels. Further, at the end of the project, there is an expectation for added-value information in the weather information by PAGASA like adding percent chance of rains in various areas in the Philippines.
JICA added that a crucial stage in disaster management is more accurate prediction and planning. "Through this partnership, JICA will continue to share Japan's expertise in disaster preparedness and risk reduction as part of our assistance in strengthening the country's disaster management," said Ohshima.
From 1979 to 2019, Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) in the Philippines amounted to 345 billion yen and included structural (infrastructure and equipment) and non-structural support (trainings and education). For example, JICA's assistance in Ormoc City helped develop greater disaster awareness led by local government units (LGUs) after a disastrous flood in 1991. JICA likewise shared the build back better concept in the Typhoon Yolanda rehabilitation while working with the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) on minimizing disaster risks. In addition, some 200 Filipinos have trained in Japan on DRRM from 2013 to 2018.