Angara urges Phl to prioritize the establishment of DSMC
By Jason de Asis

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, November 28, 2010-By preparing better the nation in dealing with the multiple disasters that hit the country, Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), urges the government for the establishment of the Disaster Science Management Center (DSMC) as a national priority next year.
The DSMC helps citizens for the typhoons and similar disasters that continue to threaten the country wherein the Senator said that the government should understand how to develop an advanced and real-time information dissemination strategy so that the people can mitigate in disasters.

It is set (DSMC) to be a public-private initiative that the scientific community can use to better understand the mechanics of managing disasters with the cooperation of neighboring countries that have experienced similar storms and natural calamities as the Philippines.
An amount of P100 million under the DOST national budget for 2011 was recommended by Angara for the establishment of the Disaster Center which is scheduled to be heard in plenary next week.

The DSMC is envisioned to become a regional hub for disaster science where our scientists can help prepare officials and LGU’s to handle natural calamities wherein the COMSTE has prioritized the creation of the DSMC and is working with the Manila Observatory (MO) to finalize proposals for its foundation.

The center is set as a training center that will focus on scenario-type learning utilizing technology for disaster mitigation and management like Taiwan and Japan which are already actively cooperating with training of local experts.

Relative to this, Angara explained that the United Nations (UN) called for countries in Asia to spend more time on disaster risk measures in order to attain the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of improving healthcare and education and reducing poverty.
The Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters said that Asia accounted for about 40 percent of more than 330 natural disasters around the world but there were 89 percent of victims as reported by UN in 2009.

The report indicated that the disaster damage costs have shot up to nearly $1 trillion dollars from $75.5 billion in the 1960’s, and 85 percent of people in developing countries worldwide are exposed to quakes, typhoons, floods and drought.

The government needs to allocate at least 1 percent of their budget toward disaster risk reduction projects according to Margareta Wahlstrom, U.N. special representative on disaster risk reduction in the recent meeting of Asian parliamentarians in Manila.

Wahlstrom said that the disaster risk reduction will contribute to reducing poverty by ensuring that people's assets are not destroyed during disasters, particularly in countries where there is a very low insurance coverage, adding that the insurance coverage was insufficient in about 70 percent of countries.

Back to Angara, he said that there is a need to adopt a pro-active approach in order to properly address the said problem wherein the senator explained that a scientific approach supported by extensive research had led him the P100M appropriation budget for the establishment of a Philippine Disaster Science Center, roughly P40M of which is allocated for a proposed Disaster Science Management Center.

DSMC Project aims to upgrade the current capabilities of government to forecast weather, send out reliable warnings, and to ultimately prepare the country and the populace upon the onset of disastrous events, and to rehabilitate on the aftermath of disaster/s. (Jason de Asis)