New project seeks to help in boosting RP resilience

Japanese and Filipino experts will collaborate on improving forecast of thunderstorms and rainfall these weather systems can bring to the country.

Such collaboration aims providing people even better information on such occurrences and flooding these may cause, particularly in urban areas, so they can prepare accordingly, noted Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Pena.

“The Philippines is beset by extreme weather conditions so DOST is prioritizing activities addressing this situation,” he said, highlighting need to enhance the country’s resilience.

He noted such move is in line with Malacanang’s order for DOST to come up with better systems of predicting flooding.

Experts concerned will undertake the collaboration through the five-year project called Development of Extreme Weather Monitoring and Information Sharing System.

DOST, JICA, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Hokkaido University and University of the Philippines are partnering on the project.

“We’re increasingly giving importance to extreme weather events,” said JICA Philippines senior representative Ayumu Oshima.

Launched Wednesday (May 17) in Metro Manila, the project will gather data on local conditions, particularly lightning, so experts can use this information to better forecast thunderstorms and expected rainfall from these weather systems.

Thunderstorms are common in the Philippines and may cause flooding.

“We aim to improve accuracy of forecasts particularly for Metro Manila,” DOST Undersecretary Renato Solidum said on the launch’s side.

For Metro Manila alone, he said the project’s proponents will install about 50 sensors from JICA to gather needed data.

He said the Philippines’ Diwata satellite will also generate data for the project.

The Philippine government will be able to use the project as platform to eventually develop similar forecasting systems, noted de la Pena.

DOST’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) is the Philippine government’s lead agency for the undertaking.

“The project’s concentration is Metro Manila as this area has a big population and is at risk for thunderstorms and flooding,” noted ASTI Acting Dir. Joel Joseph Mariano Jr.

De la Pena said 55 Filipino researchers will be involved in the project.

He said the Japanese government’s funding for the entire project is about PHP131 million.(PNA)