'Project NOAH's transfer to PAGASA won't be that simple'

Art Fuentes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 08 2017 11:00 PM

There is more to Project NOAH than the technologies it developed.

This was what Project NOAH's Executive Director Dr. Mahar Lagmay said in an interview with ANC Future Perfect.

Lagmay also doubted that weather bureau PAGASA can absorb all the technical expertise developed by the project.

Project NOAH, or the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards, is a collection of 20 disaster science research and development projects. It is credited with developing systems for mapping and forecasting floods, storm surges, landslides and other natural hazards. 

NOAH will officially end its run on February 28 and is supposed to turn over its data and technologies to PAGASA.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said PAGASA is ready to take over the operations of the technologies developed by NOAH.

Dr. Raul Sabularse of the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology, Research and Development, which monitors Project NOAH, said the NOAH team can even be part of PAGASA. 

But Lagmay said it was not so simple. According to Lagmay, NOAH was a multi-disciplinary project that included not just scientists and engineers, but artists, communicators and other experts as well. 

While it was possible to turn over the systems developed by NOAH to Pagasa, Lagmay said keeping the team of experts was another matter.

He said PAGASA offered to absorb only 15 people from Project NOAH, when all of NOAH's programs are run by more than 200 people.

"More important than the technology is the human resource. If you do not have the money to sustain these disaster experts who are multi-disciplinary, then after February 28, there would be no group that would see to it that these 20 projects are integrated," he said. 

Future Perfect airs every Wednesday at 7 p.m. on ANC.