Duterte spokesman says he can't recall Project NOAH

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 16 2020 05:27 PM | Updated as of Nov 16 2020 05:41 PM

Aerial photo shows the aftermath of Typhoon Ulysses along Camarines Sur. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte conducted aerial inspections of severely affected areas in Cagayan Valley and Bicol Region on November 15, 2020. Rey Baniquet, Presidential Photo

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman said Monday he could not remember Project NOAH, a warning system on storm hazards, which spawned online buzz over the weekend after typhoon Ulysses swamped vast swaths of Luzon. 

Asked if the government had any plans to revive the system that folded in 2017 due to supposed lack of public funds, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said, "Di ko na po maalala kung ano iyong Project Noah."

(I cannot remember what Project Noah is.)

"I will backtrack, but I really don't remember the details," he told reporters. 

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Launched by local scientists in 2012, Project NOAH or Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazard developed 3D maps to create wave surge models, and identify landslide-prone areas and where rescuers should be sent. 

The project folded up in 2017 due to insufficient funding, though encountered funding problems even before the Duterte administration, said Project Noah executive director. 

Project NOAH trended on Twitter over the weekend, as floods from Ulysses trapped people on their roofs, waiting for rescue.