AWS in Pililla, Rizal
AWS in Pililla, Rizal

What are the various typhoon hazards? How should we act with the onset of a typhoon?  – These are basic questions most of us disregard. Living in a country located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, we are vulnerable to natural disasters such as typhoons, affecting economy and agriculture, among others. Hence, knowing and understanding even just the basics of weather disturbances is necessary. Being equipped with the right knowledge, knowing when to take action, and setting aside complacency could actually save us when Mother Nature decides to express her wrath.

 

Through the partnership of Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) and Weather Philippines Foundation (WPF) in 2015, 18 of the agreed 35 Automated Weather Stations (AWS) have already been installed in selected host sites (Pililla, Rizal; Bombon, Camarines Sur; Palawan). Weather and Tropical Cyclone 101 trainings for PSFI employees and host community members have also been conducted. With the objective of transferring knowledge about the “basic concepts, processes, and effects of different weather disturbances and rain-producing weather systems in the country,” the training is designed to aid the participants in “creating appropriate preparedness action plans.”

“Founded in 2012, WPF is the Aboitiz Group’s largest Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative. It aims to deliver critical and accurate weather forecasts to the Filipino community, with the hope of improving nationwide disaster preparedness, and timely response to variable weather conditions. By bringing together the Aboitiz Group’s resources and network, and MeteoGroup’s technical expertise, WPF is poised to be the country’s premier private weather information/content provider. WPF plans to have roughly 1,000 automated weather station/devices installed across the Philippines.” (Source: aboitizfoundation.org)

Weather 101 participants in Pililla
Participants with WPF team – Pililla

Weather and Tropical Cyclone 101 training in host sites

Pililla, Rizal

On July 18, 2016, we were transported back to Science class. WPF, through their Sustainability Specialist Margarette Lim and meteorologists Nilo Millanes and Adonis Manzan, conducted the Weather and Tropical Cyclone 101 training for local government unit (LGU) representatives, concerned community members; and us, PSFI employees, at the Shell Training Centre in Pililla, Rizal. The training was intensive but definitely valuable. There were also activities like tropical cyclone mapping and a Q&A game, which tested our knowledge. 

Bombon, Camarines Sur

The same training was conducted on July 14, 2016 at the Shell Training Farm in Bombon, Camarines Sur. Sustainability Manager Kaye Rosario-Sangalang and meteorologists Mike Padua and Neil John Ramal made up the WPF team.

The participants actively asked questions and showed interest to the topics. Most of the barangay officials who attended the training said they refreshed their knowledge on the basics of meteorology. Meanwhile, Calabanga Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management (MDRRM) Officer, Daniel Abalayan, said he learned a lot in the training, especially on how to maximize the use of AWS. For Alaine Fornoles from the office of Vice President Leni Robredo, the topics were new, but the training was interesting and worth attending.

Weather 101 participants in Aborlan
Participants intently listening in the session – Aborlan

Palawan

In Palawan, a series of trainings was conducted from August 1 to 3, 2016 in Aborlan, Taytay, and Sabang, respectively. Sustainability Manager Kaye Rosario-Sangalang and meteorologist Adonis Manzan conducted the trainings for participants from various agencies, LGUs, and sectors (agriculture, fishery, tourism, and business).

Hon. Romy Salvame, Municipal Mayor of Taytay, highlighted the training’s use in creating appropriate disaster preparedness action plans and making practical decisions to reduce the impact of weather-related disasters.

Weather 101 participants learning how to track tropical cyclones
Tropical cyclone tracking activity – Sabang

MDRRM officers also shared different strategies for weather information dissemination. In San Vicente, they monitor the weather from the AWS 24/7 and inform different barangays everyday through handset radios. They are also planning to tap their radio station in San Vicente to reach more people.

The community of Sabang expressed their gratitude and commitment through the testimonial of Maria Fiechter, tourism sector representative: “We are delighted because there are NGOs like you (WPF) that help us with firsthand weather information. Through you and the coordination of different agencies, the weather could now be our companion to run our business better. We will be active and try our best to contribute to this endeavour.”  

PSFI Programme Manager Aquino Veran hoped that when the participants went back to work, they were able to share the knowledge they gained so more people could benefit from it.

The road to a #WeatherWiser nation

To date, there are more than 850 AWS nationwide. With easy access to more localized weather information and updated weather forecasts, WPF, together with its partners like PSFI, aims to build a #WeatherWiser nation.

To access free weather information, you can visit the WPF website (weather.com.ph) or download the Weather Philippines app on the App Store or Google Play.

By Rachael Nathanielsz, Roger Borromeo, and Alexa Lasch

Article published on PSFI news magazine October 2016 issue

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