How DAP decision threatens flood warning system

by Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 31 2014 09:09 PM | Updated as of Aug 01 2014 12:22 PM

MANILA - The country's flood warning system is at risk if the government stops paying personnel of the Dream Project under the Department of Science and Technology's Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards).

The Dream Project's funding came from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) that was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

The Dream Project involves Filipino scientists responsible for creating highly sophisticated flood hazard maps that show where and where flooding may happen and how high the flood will be.

Project NOAH Executive Director Dr. Mahar Lagmay said a Dream Project accomplishment was the zero casualty during floods in Cagayan de Oro when Typhoon Pablo struck.

He said predictions of Dream Project scientists warned people ahead of time on when and where floods will occur.

Around 80 Dream Project scientists have yet to receive salaries after the DAP was declared unconstitutional by the high court.

Their employment status is now uncertain because the government has yet to find an alternative source of fund to continue the project, Lagmay said.

Neil Tingin, one of the affected scientists, hopes that the issue regarding DAP will be resolved soon before the country loses skilled personnel to other countries.

He said that while they have passion to serve the county, they also have lives and families they need to financially support.


Malacanang, meanwhile, assured on Thursday that Project NOAH employees will still get their salaries.

Salaries of engineers working on Project NOAH reportedly came from the DAP.

Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said they asked the Department of Science and Technology to look for funding for the salary of the engineers as well as their continued employment.

"Hindi po pinababayaaan ng pamahalaan ang kapakanan ng mga empleyado at kukuha po ng mga pondo sa mga authorized sources para mapunuan po 'yung pangangailangan na 'yan," he said. - with a report from Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News