MANILA - Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol on Monday said he will work to save Project NOAH, a hazard and risk monitoring program under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). This is following news that the program will be shut down by the end of February due to lack of funds.
In a Facebook post, Piñol said the Department of Agriculture needs Project NOAH. He said shutting down the program would be a disaster especially now that the country experiences one flood after another.
"I will do everything to save it. Initially, I will talk to President Rody Duterte and ask him to allow the DA to take over Project NOAH," he said.
Piñol noted that he worked with Project NOAH even before he officially assumed as secretary of agriculture.
"They were advised that there would be no more funding during the term of President Aquino. I'm sure that President Duterte will ensure the project's continuation," he said.
Launched in 2012, Project NOAH aims to provide 6-hour lead-time warning to vulnerable communities against impending floods and to use advanced technology to enhance current geo-hazard vulnerability maps.
In a Twitter post, Project NOAH executive director Mahar Lagmay said officials under the Aquino administration have long tried to kill the program since 2015.
He noted that there is a Senate resolution being crafted now to get Project NOAH to continue. "Duon na lang siguro concentrate ang tulong," he said in a separate Facebook post.
He also noted that many departments under the Duterte administration like the project.
However, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said Project NOAH was extended up to 2016 to cover additional targets and deliverables but was given up to end of February 2017 on the condition that technologies used in the operation of Project NOAH be transferred to relevant government agencies.
“In this Project, PAGASA is the principal government agency that would take over the operations aspect of the delivered outputs/technologies. It is timely that the PAGASA Modernization Law has been approved,” De la Peña said.
De la Peña noted that as a research project, Project NOAH has a start and end date.
“In this particular project, the promised deliverables have been met and now ready for adoption and use. However, if the researcher has a new project proposal in a related area, it can be submitted, evaluated and considered for funding,” he said.
“It has been made clear by the previous administration at DOST that the project as a research activity has reached its completion and project ending date. The statement of no funds is for the current project which really has a project end date,” he added.
Results of Project NOAH are now up for adoption by PAGASA, De la Peña said, explaining that a new project of the DOST will carry a new name as well.
“Its adoption by PAGASA ensures the NOAH tools to be institutionalized. The project has delivered what it has promised to deliver,” he said.