Press Release

KOICA and DOST-PAGASA Sign Agreement to Enhance Disaster Resilience

21 November 2023

DOST- PAGASA S&T Media Release
November 21, 2023, Quezon City

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA) have joined hands reinforcing disaster resilience in the Philippines through the signing of the Record of Discussions (RODs) of the “Development of Flood Forecasting and Early Warning System for the Greater Metro Manila and surrounding provinces of Laguna Lake Complex for Disaster Mitigation (EWS4) Project”. Country Director KIM Eunsub of KOICA Philippines Office and Secretary Renato Solidum, Jr., representing DOST-PAGASA, formalized the agreement at the Amihan Conference Room at the DOST-PAGASA Central Office Building, PAGASA Science Garden Complex in the morning of November 21, 2023. Also present in the signing ceremony is DOST Assistant Secretary Rodolfo Calzado Jr., key officials and personnel of DOST-PAGASA headed by the agency’s Officer-In-Charge, Dr. Nathaniel T. Servando, and representatives of the KOICA Philippines Office namely, Mr. Kim Sanggeun, Assistant Country Director, and the Program Manager, Mr. Francis Afable.

The signing ceremony highlighted the enduring partnership between KOICA and DOST-PAGASA, with the EWS4 Project being the 5th official development assistance (ODA) project jointly implemented by the two agencies. The previous three phases of the EWS and the COMS Satellite Data Analysis System Project have proven successful in providing disaster warnings and weather forecasts to Filipinos.The signing of the RODs are usually done on Foreign-Assisted projects and are carried out to signify confirmation of both parties on the scope of works for the project and other important aspects of project implementation which were discussed and agreed upon previously.

The Philippines is widely recognized as the most disaster-prone nation globally due to its high risk, exposure, and vulnerability to disasters and calamities. Since the 1990s, the country has endured over 500 disasters, claiming the lives of thousands and causing billions of dollars in damages. Responding to this critical situation, the Korean government provided a grant aid of US$ 12.7 million to implement the 6-year EWS4 Project (2021-2026) and the latest among the series of other projects previously funded by KOICA under DOST-PAGASA. Similar to other projects, this initiative aims to improve flood management and flood response capabilities in the Greater Metro Manila Area and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna. The project involves the development of an advanced Flood Forecasting and Early Warning System (FFEWS), the establishment of hydrological observation and warning facilities, the provision of flood forecasting and warning equipment, and the capacity building of local personnel.

In his message at the signing ceremony, DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr. underscores the significance of this undertaking in relation to the four pillars of DOST's Strategic Plan: human well-being, wealth creation, wealth protection and sustainability. He added the importance of this project to the Calabrazon Region as a critical industrial center of the country and a major contributor to the country’s annual Gross Domestic Product (or GDP). The Secretary also commends the project on a personal note, as a resident of Cainta Rizal, a locality around the Laguna Lake, after being affected by severe floodings in the past years brought by extreme rainfall events like Tropical Cyclone Ketsana or “Ondoy” in 2009.

Dr. Nathaniel Servando of PAGASA also expressed his utmost gratitude to the Korean Govermnemt through KOICA for their unwavering support as a long-time partner of the agency for numerous projects. ”Through the generous assistance of the Government of South Korea, this project has made our dream a reality by providing cutting-edge monitoring and warning equipment, including x-band radar, rainfall and water level gauges, flow meters, CCTV systems, and warning posts strategically placed in key areas of the project site. Additionally, the development of an operational flood forecasting model for the river basins within the area will significantly enhance our ability to issue timely and accurate flood forecasts, thereby increasing the lead time for evacuation”, he added.

Millions of residents in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna will benefit from the timely and accurate warnings provided by the EWS4 Project, empowering them to take proactive measures against impending natural disasters. KOICA Country Director KIM Eunsub said, “We aim to establish an advanced, integrated, and standardized platform for flood control and disaster management that will be regularly used by DOST-PAGASA and the local government units. This platform will serve as a beacon of hope and resilience for years to come, safeguarding the lives and livelihoods of Filipinos.” He also added that with the stewardship of DOST-PAGASA, he is confident that the project will be in the good hands of the experts and dedicated personnel of the agency.

The EWS4 Project signifies a crucial step toward building a safer and more resilient future for the people of the Philippines. KOICA and DOST-PAGASA remain dedicated to their shared mission of mitigating disaster risks and enhancing the nation's capacity to respond effectively to natural calamities.

For more information, please contact Engr. Roy A. Badilla – Chief, Hydro-Meteorology Division at 0998-585 9329 and or Engr. Sheila S. Schneider, Project Leader at 0917-853 4819.

Officer-In-Charge, PAGASA

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