Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Only PAG-ASA is authorized 
to issue weather forecasts

MANILA, September 13 (PIA)—There is only one authorized government agency to issue weather forecasts, reiterate weather bureau authorities amidst the call to provide information dissemination protocols during disasters. 

Speaking at the 7th Regional Media Seminar Series on the Role of the Media in Disaster Communications coordinated by the United States Embassy in Manila, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), stressed this as the Filipinos attempt to bolster its disaster preparedness and mitigations protocols in the light of stronger storms, more rain volume and stronger gales. 

While it may be allowable for people to use other forecasting agencies when an extreme weather disturbance is still outside Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), it is the government weather bureau who will be the sole forecasting agency when the disturbance has entered the PAR.

No less that the Project Director for Project National Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) of the DOST Oscar Victor Lizardo pressed this amid reports that communities have accessed information from unauthorized sources that end up far from forecasts. 

Forecasts, as they are, may not be as accurate, but when the disturbance enters the PAR, the DOST maintains a string of overlapping Doppler radars coverage that a better and more accurate track guess is now a huge probability, Lizardo explained. 

The PAR is roughly an arbitrary straight line measured about a thousand kilometers from the country’s southeastern-most and northeastern most points, or similar measurements on the southwest and north western Philippine island extremities.

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) said beyond the PAR, other countries nearer to the forming disturbance may have radars and observatories in the proximity, so they can have a better and more accurate watch.

PAG-ASA has undergone a major equipping in the last couple of years and has largely improved its capabilities in weather forecasting and disaster risk and reduction management, he told members of the regional media at the training seminar. 

But while many radio stations and media establishments still build up with their trust in the country’s weather bureau, Lizardo was short in detailing what would be a step to sanction media outfits which pick on unauthorized forecasters. 

A possible usurpation of authority could be slapped to anyone who would misrepresent the country’s forecasting bureau while possible sanctions await a media outfit found to have caused panic and confusion over such an unauthorized act. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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