(SPOT.ph) When Project NOAH Executive Director Dr. Mahar Lagmay announced in January that the program would be shut down by the government in March due to lack of funds, many were disheartened. The project, after all, has prepared thousands of people and saved hundreds of lives during times of national calamity. It was also recognized by the International Data Corporation Asia Pacific in 2016 as the Top Smart City Initiative in Public Safety.
Wanting to ensure the continuity of the project, the University of the Philippines Board of Regents "approved to establish the Project NOAH Center in the UP System" on February 21. In a Facebook post by Board of Regents member Frederick Mikhail “Spocky” I. Farolan, he pointed out that the project was actually an initiative that started in the state university and was later adopted by the Department of Science and Technology. "The action of the UP Board of Regents ensures that the multidisciplinary applied and operational researches of Project NOAH, which has been critical to saving lives and property, continue," the post explains.
Project NOAH, short for Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards, is the Department of Science and Technology's program for providing data for disaster preparedness and mitigation. It was launched in July 2012, under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III. It takes care of disaster science research and development to be able to relay information to the Philippines' warning agencies at least six hours before impending floods and other disasters. This is especially useful in a country like ours, which is prone to tropical cyclones because of our geographical location. You can also take advantage of the online program yourself with its user-friendly interface.
"There are a lot of government funds or disaster risk reduction (pero) wala lang po for Project NOAH after February 28. We were told verbally that our request for extension will not be approved," Lagman explained through GMA News Online on January 29. The project's technologies will be transferred to Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, the country's national weather bureau. This was met with controversy, including Lagmay's supposed "doubt on PAGASA’s capability to absorb all the technical expertise developed by Project NOAH,” according to Philippine Weathermen Employees Association President Ramon Agustin on February 11.
Good job, UP!