Friday, September 17, 2010

‘Text War’ vs Disasters Launched

‘Text War’ vs Disasters Launched
Manila Bulletin
September 17, 2010

MAASIN CITY (PNA) – A P9.5-million disaster-reduction project, funded by the World Bank, will benefit nine coastal municipalities and this Southern Leyte city through web-powered and cell phone-based text messages which would act as an early-warning system against any tsunami, quake tremor, flood or mudslide, storm surge, or typhoon.

Southern Leyte Gov. Damian G. Mercado said the 10 beneficiaries include this city and the towns of Libagon, Malitbog, San Francisco, Hinunangan, Liloan, Anahawan, Pintuyan, San Ricardo, and Tomas Oppus.

The US$200,000 project using Short Messaging Service (SMS) in mobile phones is a joint undertaking of the World Bank, SMART Communications as service provider of the cellular technology, the provincial government of Southern Leyte, and the Philippines Business for Social Progress (PBSP), a corporate advocacy and project management group.

In a press conference after the project launch on Tuesday, SMART public affairs manager Ramon Isberto said the project aims to beef up the capacity of the Provincial Disaster Management Office (PDMO) of Southern Leyte in helping the respective municipal disaster coordinating councils and emergency response teams to perform their functions on disaster preparedness and response.

PBSP executive director Rafael C. Lopa revealed that the proposal for the project, called “Strengthening Disaster Preparedness of Southern Leyte through SMS Technology,” first won in the 2009 World Bank Development Marketplace as it aimed to assist the Southern Leyte PDMO in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation.

As stated in the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) that the four partners signed at the provincial capitol here during the project launch, PBSP reportedly got a grant covering the costs of the development and installation of the system, the training of system users at the Southern Leyte PDMO and in the municipalities and barangays, the conduct of community education on climate change, and the planning for multiple hazards.