‘Clearer, simpler’ disaster warnings sought from DOST
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Loren Legarda has urged the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to make its disaster warning systems more understandable to prevent a destructive trail similar to that of Severe Tropical Storm Paeng (international name: Nalgae).
During Thursday’s Senate plenary session on the proposed 2023 national budget, Legarda underscored the need to communicate disaster-related information in languages and dialects most familiar to the communities.
She noted that this could have prevented the alarming number of deaths from Paeng’s wrath last October, which left at least 160 people killed – with the chunk of fatalities from the hard-hit Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.
READ: Storm Paeng death toll hits 160; agri, infra damage pegged at over P11-B
“Iyong pag-translate ng ating mga warning sa naiintindihan pong language or dialect, hanggang sa last mile, hanggang sa kabundukan. Sa mga indigenous peoples o sa mga walang cell sites na mapaparating po ang early warning systems,” the senator said.
(Translating the warnings in languages or dialects understood by people in the farthest mile and mountains. Also for indigenous peoples or those with no cell sites that will help communicate the early warning systems.)
She further pressed that disaster warnings should be relayed through “clearer, simpler communication in a language understood.”
Senator Francis Tolentino, who was defending the budget of DOST for next year, agreed with Legarda as he likewise noted that beyond translating the warnings to local languages and dialects, it is just as important to make the scientific terms more understandable to the general public.
Legarda then pushed for the league of barangays (villages) to meet with DOST chief Stephen Solidium, as well as the department’s technical advisers, to learn about the vulnerabilities and coping capacities in their respective locations.
“The Department of the Interior and Local Government must work closely with the DOST – Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration. We want to see that cooperation converges, so that the adverse impact of Paeng will not happen again,” she added.
Tolentino said the DOST is in agreement with the proposal of Legarda.
“They totally agree that there should be a community-based preparedness program, and the education, the translation into layman’s terms should be done ASAP. Dapat talagang may manual na rito kung ano iyong mga ibig sabihin ng mga terms na iyon (There should be a manual on the terms and its definition,” he further noted.
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