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Sep 16th
Home Columns Ike Señeres Disaster-warning Systems
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Columns - Ike Señeres
Written by Ike Señeres   
Thursday, 15 July 2010 06:23


No Holds Barred (077)

By Ike Señeres


Disaster-warning Systems


P resident Noynoy Aquino has reason to get down at PAGASA officials for not being able to warn Metro Manila residents about the impact of the storm “Basyang” in the metropolis. Did he probably wonder that Gloria Arroyo could partly to blame for the failure?


PAGASA is an agency under the DOST and if there is anyone to blame for the failure, it should be no other than the DOST. Not unless we start believing that an attached agency has nothing to do with its mother agency and what attached agency is under what mother agency is just legal fiction.


All throughout the nine year regime of Gloria, the DOST was under Dr. Estrella Alabastro, and you would think that that would have been enough time to fix DOST and all the agencies under it, including PAGASA.


At least, Gloria Arroyo made a lame attempt to claim that she did some good during her nine years, but we have not heard anything from Dr. Alabastro, not even a report of what she has done and not done.


During the inauguration of President Noynoy, a huge banner clearly announced the sentiments of the people in the crowd: “GLORIA WE ARE NOT GOING TO MISS YOU”. I wonder if anyone is going to say that they will miss Estrella Alabastro.


I have no complaints about academics being appointed to Cabinet positions, but we should treat this on a case-to-case basis, because heading a Cabinet department is a management job, perhaps too much of a challenge for someone who is good for nothing except a teaching job.


Aside from being a management job, a Cabinet position is also a policy job, meaning to say that it is the job of the Secretary assigned to review and improve the policies that would affect the sector assigned to him or her. We have not heard of any major policy changes either in the time of Dr. Alabastro, so we wonder what she did during her nine years on the job.


N ewly-appointed NEDA Secretary Dondon Paderanga could be an exception to the rule that an academic is not always a good manager. Secretary Dondon is actually just returning to his old NEDA post, and no President would put him back there if he is no good.


No one doubts the management savvy of Dondon, but I think that his greater strength is his policy prowess, and that is exactly what we need at this time that we are trying to rise from the damage of the super typhoon Gloria that wrecked havoc on our economy.


With all apologies to my friends in DOST and PAGASA, this whole function of warning people about disaster is all about data. It is all about getting the right data at the right time, and bringing out the data to the most number of people in the fastest possible way.


Now that President Noynoy has dressed down PAGASA, he should also take a look at what the DFA might have failed to do, in connection with this function of gathering the disaster data. You might wonder why the DFA could be involved, but they do have a technology-transfer division that could have brought in the equipment needed to address this problem.


I wish that I will have the chance to suggest to President Noynoy about what could be done to solve this problem of disaster warnings. The bottom line here is that PAGASA is still using analog weather stations, and they have less than a hundred of this old equipment all over the country, no thanks to Dr. Alabastro.


If I will have the chance to suggest to President Noynoy, I will tell him that I know exactly what to do, so that we could immediately shift to digital-weather stations, and immediately installing thousands of this new equipment all over the country, without so much expense, and without asking Alabastro.


It has been said that the lack of development in this country is due to the technology lag, being the problem of delay in deploying new technologies here. I think, however, that the problem is in the lack of vision and drive among the people who are supposed to hasten the pace. Too bad, along with Gloria Arroyo, history will tell that Alabastro wasted technology in their time.


Watch KA IKING LIVE! Saturdays 8 pm to 9 pm in Global News Network (GNN), Channel 21 in Destiny Cable. Email or text +639293605140 for local cable listings. Visit



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