The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Home Affairs and Local Government (DILG) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOA) on Wednesday, March 16, to boost the information caravan for the disaster preparedness.
Weather and Geological Hazard Advisories, Warnings and Notifications for Decisive Action (MAGHANDA) aims to provide better understanding of warning messages on natural hazards such as earthquakes, storm surges, typhoons, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions for better response action among local people. government units (UGL).
With the looming threat of natural hazards and disasters during the Covid-19 pandemic, DOST Undersecretary Renato Solidum Jr. emphasized the importance of MAGHANDA amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“PAGASA [Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration] and Phivolcs [Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology] understand very well the essential role of effectively communicating the dangers to the public in easy-to-understand, cross-platform packages to elicit a positive and above all appropriate response, especially from people living in vulnerable communities and achieve our goal of reducing casualties and impacts by enabling them to act accordingly during various natural hazards,” Solidum said.
“Not to mention this proyektong, nais nating iparating in ating mga kababayan ang kahalagahan ng tang impormasyon tungkol sa panganib na dulot ng mga kalamidad na maaaring maiwasan ang pagkasira ng ari-arian and pagkawala ng mga buhay kung tayo lamang ay nakapaghanda dahil sa wastong kaalaman (True to the name of the project, we want to convey to Filipinos the importance of proper information about the dangers posed by disasters and that the loss of livelihoods and lives can only be avoided if we are prepared and equipped with the appropriate knowledge),” he added.
Meanwhile, PAGASA Deputy Administrator for Research and Development, Dr Esperanza Cayanan, said the MAGHANDA project is “timely” as the country slowly transitions into the new normal.
“It is indeed very timely that we have this other [information, education, and communication] workshop,” Cayanan noted.
The project targets at least 7,549 seminar workshop participants across all 17 regions and is expected to provide local chief executives, disaster managers and first responders with the latest disaster information and early warnings for appropriate action.
“Key to proper preparedness and response would be a clear understanding of the hazards and risks and, most importantly, the impacts of these natural hazards on certain areas,” she continued.
MAGHANDA will also produce public service announcements on disaster warning information which will be broadcast on various media platforms and networks.
With the help of DILG, MAGHANDA will develop an updated disaster risk reduction and management contingency plan taking into account the new normal protocols.
DOST and DILG previously held similar information and education campaigns in 2014 to train LGUs in disaster preparedness and its appropriate technologies on monitoring and decision-making tools.
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