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Iloilo City adopts Taiwan’s integrated risk assessment platform

National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction of Taiwan director Dr. Hongey Chen, Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa (center) and Maria Antonia Loyzaga of the National Resilience Council sign the Memorandum of Cooperation for the implementation of the integrated risk assessment platform in Iloilo City on October 18 in Metro Manila. (Photo courtesy of Jessice Dator-Bercilla)

ILOILO CITY — The city government here is in need of a command center that will serve as its “nerve center” when it comes to disaster operation as it gears to adopt the integrated risk assessment platform of Taipei, Taiwan.

The center will also serve as counterpart of the city government in the integrated risk assessment platform that will be established in Iloilo City, in partnership with the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction (NCDR) of Taiwan, Manila Observatory and the National Resilience Council (NRC).

In an interview Monday, Donna Magno, head of the Iloilo City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) which was assigned as the focal point for the engagement, said a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) was signed by the implementing partners, making it as another milestone for Iloilo City.

“It is very significant because we have science-based institutions that will help the city in its risk assessment,” she said. Before, the city used to rely only on regional data but with the support of the private partners, it can now generate local data.

The MOC will pave the way for the sharing of best practices and mechanisms of emergency preparedness in Taiwan, develop tools for capacity-building based on scenario simulation and establish system for emergency preparedness that will include information analysis, vulnerability-risk assessment and suggestion for policymakers.

“DRR workers will have the knowledge and the skills on how to monitor equipment, interpret data for making informed decisions, especially when there are weather disturbances,” Magno said.

At present, the CDRRMO has an operation center situated at the Iloilo City Motorpool that operates 24/7.

She said that temporarily they are eyeing the penthouse at the city hall as the command center, otherwise the project with Taiwan will be affected.

“The idea behind the operation center is that during worst case scenario that building is still standing and functioning to provide direction to all operations,” she added.

Following the MOC signing, there will be field visit of this city’s project focal person to Taiwan. Also, their experts will visit Iloilo City for an inspection and take a look at its flooding hot spots where the automatic weather stations (AWS) will be installed.

The NRDC will be providing 20 automatic weather stations (AWS) in Iloilo City.

Through the National Resilience Council (NRC), Iloilo City was chosen to be the pilot of the NCDR, an agency under the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan.

With the NCDR, they generate data down to the barangay level. “All over Taiwan they have 16,000 AWS to generate information,” Magno said.

“This is the first time that they will replicate their system. And the only LGU that was chosen is Iloilo City,” she said.

She added that NRC chose Iloilo City among its eight pilot LGUs because they believed that there is a big chance that it will succeed based on their scorecard and the commitment of DRR players.

Also, Taiwan and Iloilo City have similar hazards such as typhoon, flooding and earthquake.

The Manila Observatory is also joining the initiative so there will be scientific researches coming in.

“It’s very apt because we are a highly urbanized city so we also level up our risk assessment,” said Magno.

The signatories to the MOC included Dr. Hongey Chen, director of NCDR Taiwan, Maria Antonia Loyzaga of the NRC and Mayor Jose Espinosa III for Iloilo City. (Perla Lena/PNA)

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