LGUs get weather gauges

20 September 2012

SIX cities in Cebu received weather devices from a non-profit organization that aims to provide free weather information to the public.

The Weather Philippines Foundation (WPF) turned over automatic weather stations (AWS) to the cities of Toledo, Talisay, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, Danao and Cebu yesterday at the Allure Hotel on A.S. Fortuna St., Mandaue City.

After the turnover, the WPF and the Visayan Electric Company (Veco) taught representatives from the cities how to install and maintain the AWS, which is a stand-alone device that measures weather-related factors and transmits real-time data.

The WPF, formed by Aboitiz Power, Unionbank and Meteomedia Philippines, aims to “positively contribute to the Philippine society and economy by operating a premiere weather forecasting system that will provide free weather information as public service for Filipinos in an effort to reduce risks and calamities associated with adverse weather conditions.”

It aims to set up 1,000 AWS all over the Philippines in the next two years.

It will launch a website (weather.com.ph) on Sept. 27.

WPF general manager Celso Caballero III said the Aboitiz Group of Companies is spending $2.9 million for the project.

“This is one of the biggest, single CSR (corporate social responsibility) project in the country,” he said.

Partners

The WPF will partner with the Department of Science and Technology and its sub-agencies: the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards, and the Advanced Science and Technology Institute.

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes said the AWS is a great help.

“Through this, we can give the public advance information about the weather,” he told reporters.

“This is one way of elevating public-private partnership to a higher level,” he said.

Cost

Caballero said the data provided by WPF will complement that of Pagasa.

Each AWS costs $2,500 and its maintenance cost is P50,000 every year, said Caballero.

These costs will be shouldered by the WPF.

He said the local government units only have to secure the AWS and spend for minor maintenance and upgrading.

Veco communications manager Ethel Natera said weather information is important for the utility firm’s operations.

“Weather plays an important role in the distribution of power,” she said. “Through weather information, we will be better prepared for weather disturbances.”