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Big preparations are currently underway at the Regional Offices of DOST and the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC IV-A). "We want to be more than ready when the next typhoon hits the region," Alexander R. Madrigal, regional director of DOST CALABARZON, explains. Together with Vicente F. Tomazar, chairman of RDRRMC IV-A, Madrigal initiated establishment of an "ICT-based Disaster Monitoring and Feedback System." The project supports the newly enacted Republic Act 10121 otherwise known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 which strengthens the country's disaster risk reduction and management system, provides for a national framework, as well as, institutionalized draft and implementation of a plan.

Having convened a group of concerned National Government Agencies (NGAs) and the Local Government Units of Sta Cruz City, Los Banos, and Bay earlier on, Madrigal and Tomazar have agreed through a Memorandum of Understanding signed last November 18, 2010 to implement an information system which consists of modules on:

Automated information dissemination of weather bulletins from RDRRMC IV-A to its members in the province, city/ municipality, and barangay;
Feedback that captures and stores data on actual weather conditions in a locality;
Early Warning System which monitors and sends advisory on weather and risk of flooding to potentially at risk areas; and
Public inquiry to make accessible to the public and other stakeholders, through the Internet and mobile phones, weather bulletins and other related updates.

A Technical Working Group (TWG), composed of representatives from the Regional Offices of DENR, NAMRIA, DILG, PAGASA, Oxfam, Colegio de Letran de Calamba, RDRRMC and DOST, has been formed. DOST IV-A has also initiated sourcing of new related technologies from the University of the Philippines Los Banos-Physics Department, and De La Salle University-Dasmarinas Campus.

In addition, RDRRMC IV-A and DOST CALABARZON are currently completing inventory of equipment such as GSM-based rain gauges and GSM-based water level monitoring equipment that are being used to date in the region.

Furthermore, DOST IV-A is working to finish the automated information system. It is exploring, together with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Regional Office, use of the Message Blast Promotion being offered by SMART, Globe, and Sun to NTC.

Similarly, Madrigal and Tomazar are finalizing an agreement with the Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) to fabricate collapsible bamboo rafts for use during search and rescue missions by LGUs and RDRRMC IV-A. In Taytay, Rizal Province, Victorio N. Carillagas, a local fabricator, has proposed a design for fabrication of a rescue boat made from fiber glass. Madrigal and Tomazar are still reviewing details of the project.

Lastly, DOST IV-A, as vice chairman of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Cluster as stipulated under RA 10121, has finished draft of the guidance note entitled Developing a Disaster-Resilient Barangay, 2011-2022 Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Plan for the CALABARZON Region.

The guidance note, which will be presented to other members of RDRRMC IV-A in a strategic planning workshop, is designed to prevent future natural and man-caused disasters and mitigate or lessen the impact of those which have already occurred. Its objective is to direct users' thinking to focus on pro-active measures that encourage community mobilization and partnership with local officials and concerned NGAs. The note is functional at different stages of the mitigation and prevention cycles. It provides also measures by which tools used in Disaster Risk Reduction projects and research (e.g. vulnerability and capacity analysis) may best be applied