July 23, 2018
A project that will help Filipino meteorologists harness data from the country's major river basins could help the Philippines boost its flood forecasting and warning system, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said.
JICA brought in a group of weather specialists from the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to a two-week training in Japan.
The training is part of the JICA-PAGASA cooperation project Strengthening Capacity of Integrated Data Management of Flood Forecasting and Warning.
"The Philippines has begun installing a River Flood Forecasting and Warning Center in some of its key river basins and JICA as the country's longstanding development partner would like to help build the capacity of PAGASA in quality management of data for accurate and timely flood forecasting," said JICA Senior Representative Ayumu Ohshima. "Japan and the Philippines share common experiences when it comes to natural disasters and we also aim to share the accumulated knowledge we have on disaster management to support the country's disaster resiliency efforts."
The Philippine government has declared July as National Disaster Resiliency Month to help boost disaster awareness and response in the country.
The trainees from PAGASA attended lectures on flood forecasting and warning system in Japan and emergency evacuation systems. They also visited Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) and Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).
The participants, from Agno, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and Pampanga flood forecasting and warning centers, said the training could help improve their management and operations capability in the river centers and help them manage information during extreme weather events.
"The training was an opportunity for us to learn Japanese technology and ideas. We saw how Japan invested in structural and non-structural measures to ensure the safety of its people, protect investments and industries, and other critical lifelines. The close coordination of private companies, stakeholders, and government institutions also makes their environment safe," said Rosalie Pagulayan, weather specialist from the PAGASA Hydrometeorological Division who attended the training.
The participants also noted that Japan has put in place frameworks and policies for meteorological and hydrological services that help "set standards at the national and local government level and installed necessary equipment in their river systems to improve flood forecasting services."
The training of PAGASA personnel is one of the 19 ongoing DRR projects of JICA in the Philippines.
Since the 1960s, JICA has been supporting the Philippines' disaster resiliency efforts through capacity building of frontline disaster management agencies, building of infrastructure to mitigate disasters, and other non-structural measures like policy making.