President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino, Science and Technology Secretary Mario G. Montejo, Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras and Embassy of Japan's Minister (Deputy Chief of Mission) and Consul-General, Mr. Motohiko Kato, attended the inauguration of the Virac radar station under Project for Improvement of the Meteorological Radar System in Ca tanduanes Island on Wednesday, May 2. The project is funded by ODA grant aid amounting to 3.35 billion yen (approximately 1.77 b illion pesos) from the Government of Japan.
The old existing Virac, Aparri and Guiuan radar systems were completed in 1994, financed by Japanese soft loan, and are now more than 1 8 years old. Due to the age of the existing radar systems, it is difficult to conduct radar monitoring for a number of reasons such as the transmitted power is down, each circuit in the system is obsolete, and radar pictures in the display are unreadable.
The project aims to effectively prevent damages that tropical cyclones and other severe weather phenomena may cause, by enhancing the weather monitoring and weather information/warning dissemination capability of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). The project includes the installation of meteorological data display systems, the establishment of data satellite communication systems, and the replacement of the three (3) existing Meteorological Radar Systems in Aparri, Cagayan; Virac, Catanduanes; and Guian, Samar with Doppler (S-band) Radar System.
The project is expected to contribute to the protection of lives and properties and help mitigate the devastation caused by tropical cyclones and other severe weather conditions through continuous and timely dissemination of accurate forecasts, warnings and advisories to disaster management agencies and mass media.
Cooperation in the field of disaster prevention and management has been one of the main pillars of bilateral cooperation between the two disaster-prone countries. Both countries confirmed further cooperation in this field in the Joint Statement issued on the occasion of President Aquino's visit to Japan in September 2011. This project is expected to further strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries as well as consolidating bonds of friendship between the peoples of Japan and the Philippines.