Friday, September 14, 2007

Loren urges P6-B Pagasa rehab

SENATOR Loren Legarda yesterday batted for the modernization of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration to better protect Filipinos and the environment from the fury of natural calamities like typhoons.

Loren has filed Senate Bill No. 1397 to enhance the capabilities of Pagasa in predicting the occurrence and strength of weather disturbances, the Philippines being located within the Pacific Rim of Fire noted for its active volcanoes and extreme weather systems.

“Pagasa should be modernized so it can live up to its name -- as a harbinger of hope during calamitous times,” the senator said.

“I am,therefore, calling on the 14th Congress to pass this bill that would allow Pagasa to make better weather forecasts to help us minimize loss of lives and damages to properties due to natural calamities.

She added that while her bill concentrates on Pagasa, there is also a great need to modernize the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology to improve its monitoring of the country’s active volcanoes and seismic activities.

“The Philippines is prone to natural disasters. It lies along what is known as the Ring of Fire with a number of active volcanoes. It is also within the path of storms emanating from the Pacific Ocean. These conditions increase the vulnerability of many areas and people in various parts of the nation,” she said.

Loren explained that significant advances in the technologies used in monitoring meteorological and geological developments have great potential in providing vital information for disaster management.

“This bill addresses the need to upgrade the capacity of Pagasa to perform its mandate thereby providing the necessary informational requirement and warning systems to minimize the vulnerability of people, environment and economy to natural disasters,” she said in her bill’s explanatory note.

The bill allots P5 billion to fund the six-year modernization program.

Part of the fund is to come from net income of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
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