Legarda Sees Improved Disaster Preparedness with PAGASA Modernization

July 4, 2013

Senator Loren Legarda today said that better weather forecasting and monitoring by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) will result to better preparedness against natural hazards, thereby preventing huge economic losses.

Legarda said she re-filed the proposed PAGASA Modernization Act and hopes that it will be enacted in the 16th Congress to enhance the agency’s capability in providing services to protect the people and the environment and to ensure economic security against natural hazards.

“In 2009, our country suffered economic damages equivalent to 2.7% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from two typhoons alone—Ondoy and Pepeng. We have to address our vulnerability to extreme weather events to protect our people and our economic gains,” said Legarda.

The Senator said that the Philippines’ location—lying along the ring of fire with a number of active volcanoes and within the path of storms originating from the Pacific Ocean—is aggravated by climate change, which increases the vulnerability of many areas and people in various parts of the country.

“Development efforts are stunted as the people struggle with the challenges of economic survival, and the occurrence of natural hazards such as typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, becomes an added burden towards achieving development,” she explained.

“There have been significant advances in the technologies used in monitoring meteorological and geological developments. They have great potential in providing vital information that can be useful in formulating development plans as well as in crafting mechanisms for disaster management, rehabilitation and reconstruction as threats of natural calamities are anticipated. This is what we hope to achieve in upgrading the capacity of PAGASA to perform its mandate,” Legarda said.

Under Senate Bill No. 10, or the PAGASA Modernization Act, there will be an appropriation worth Php5-billion for the modernization program aside from funds from other sources such as the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), local and foreign donations, and budgetary surplus.