PAGASA to help build early warning systems

Posted on March 06, 2012

THE PHILIPPINE Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with leaders of local government units (LGUs) for the weather agency’s assistance in building the necessary infrastructure for early weather warning systems to minimize the effects of natural disasters on agriculture.

A press release from the Rice Watch and Action Agency (R1) said that the mayors of Gerona in Tarlac, Irosin in Sorsogon, and Tubigon in Bohol signed an agreement with the PAGASA entitling their towns to continuous mentoring and capacity building from the agency to aid them in setting up automatic weather stations (AWS) in their municipalities.

An AWS is an essential structure to build a community-based early warning system (EWS) for agriculture or the Climate Field School.

The system will forewarn farmers of upcoming extreme weather conditions and give them ample time to prepare defenses to minimize the effects of climate change on agricultural production.

"These areas were chosen because we try to disperse the study to include provinces representing the four climate types in the Philippines," said R1 Lead Convenor Jessica Reyes-Cantos in a telephone interview.

"This is so we can see each climate type’s adaptation strategies so we can prepare appropriate defensive measures," she added.

Ms. Cantos said that these early warning systems can cost from around P50,000 to as much as P200,000, depending on the level of sophistication of the technology required by the LGUs.

"The LGUs will set aside their own funds for the project," Ms. Cantos said. -- Bettina Faye V. Roc