MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said that state weather bureau Pagasa will take care of the tools and technologies developed by the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (Project NOAH) once the program ends on February 28.
The science department issued the statement on Monday, January 30, after Mahar Lagmay, the executive director of Project NOAH, announced in a radio interview on Sunday that the program will be scrapped due to "lack of funds."
Disaster responders in the regions are asking President Rodrigo Duterte to save Project NOAH by funding it.
The DOST said most of the component deliverables of the program were finished as early as 2015, yet Project Noah was extended to 2016, and eventually to early 2017, to "cover additional targets and deliverables."
"The extension was given up to the end of February 2017 and part of the condition was the transfer of the technologies for use in operations in the government agencies who have the relevant mandate," DOST said in its statement.
"In this project, Pagasa is the principal government agency that would take over the operations aspect of the delivered outputs/technologies," the statement said.
DOST said the details of the turnover were discussed among weather bureau officials and Lagmay in late 2016. Lagmay is with the University of the Philippines National Institute of Geological Sciences.
In a March 2016 entry on its official blog site, Project NOAH said it completed its deliverables early 2016, and that "the culmination of the Landslide, Storm Surge, and WebGIS component projects, as they are commonly known, does not entail the end of Project NOAH." It said the scientists still participate in the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council's pre-disaster risk assessment system during disasters.
DOST said that "research projects" like Project NOAH really have start- and end-dates, and once the deliverables have been finished and the products are ready for adoption and use, the projects have to end.
Researchers who have new proposals can submit a pitch and it can be evaluated and considered for funding, it 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. It has been stated clearly that new project proposals are welcome if there is a new study to be made," DOST said.
"The outcomes or result of Project NOAH is now due for use and adoption, specifically by Pagasa," DOST added. – Gwen de la Cruz/Rappler.com