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MANILA, Philippines – At the commemoration ceremony of the disasters that hit Japan a year ago, a top Malacanang official underscored the bilateral relationship between the two countries especially in the areas of disaster prevention and response capabilities.
On Sunday, March 11, 2012, the first year anniversary of the twin natural disaster that killed thousands in Japan, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. thanked Japan for funding via overseas development assistance (ODA) projects in the Philippines that aim to improve the weather accuracy of weather forecasts in the Philippines, which is hit also hit by numerous typhoons and earthquakes.
Ochoa told Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Toshinao Urabe, who was among those at the commemoration ceremony at University of the Philippines in Diliman, that “the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and Typhoon Sendong in our country underscore the particular vulnerability of our two countries, and stress the importance of disaster readiness and response programs to address such vulnerabilities.”
“We thank the Japanese Government, the top overseas development assistance (ODA) provider of our country, for extending ODA projects to improve our disaster prevention and response capabilities,” Ochoa added.
The Executive Secretary noted that the Philippines now have improved Doppler radar systems, flood warning systems, emergency shelters, and river channel improvement projects through the ODA mode.
“Next month, in fact, we will be inaugurating a new radar station in Virac, Catanduanes that was built from funding provided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA),” Ochoa said. The JICA is responsible for the implementation of projects financed via ODAs.
“The DOST believes that the completion of this radar station will substantially improve the accuracy of weather forecasts, thus resulting in more timely warnings for our people and helping minimize human casualties and property damage as a result of the severe weather disturbances that constantly batter the country,” he said.
Ochoa noted that the government of Japan has pushed for the establishment of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management and of an ASEAN-wide information-sharing network regarding Disaster Management. He also commended Japan for hosting an international high-level conference on natural disaster in 2012, as well as the Third World Conference on Disaster Reduction in 2015.
“In leading the way to find means to mitigate the effects of the natural disasters that will inevitably plague us, Japan has shown us the best strategy in dealing with natural calamities,” said Ochoa. – Rappler.com