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DOST pushes relocation of quake-damaged weather station in Surigao Sur

HINATUAN, SURIGAO DEL SUR (PIA) -- Personnel from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), and key officials from the local government of Hinatuan led by Mayor Shem Garay recently met Surigao del Sur Governor Alexander T. Pimentel to fast-track the reinstallation of the PAGASA doppler radar and synoptic station in Hinatuan town.

The meeting was held in  response to the request of Surigao del Sur 2nd District Rep. Johnny Pimentel to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to look into the non-operational status of the facility, which was heavily damaged following the magnitude 7.4 earthquake in December.

The doppler radar and synoptic station in Hinatuan covers and provides 70 percent of Mindanao’s significant weather forecast with its strategic location that faces the Pacific Ocean.

As instructed by Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the key agencies such as DPWH and DOST, including its attached agencies such as PAGASA and PHIVOLCS, conducted an ocular assessment of the PAGASA doppler radar and synoptic station in Hinatuan town to assess the damage to the facility and seek recommendations for immediate repair. Photo courtesy of DOST-PAGASA.

According to PAGASA, the doppler radar and synoptic station in Hinatuan conducts regular observations twice a day. However, if there is an existing tropical cyclone within the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR), this station may be required to observe on a 24-hour basis, dependent on the proximity of the station to the tropical cyclone or the effective range of the radar itself, and transmit their radar report every hour or every 30 minutes to the PAGASA Central Office.

Rumark Leopoldo Bompat, PAGASA weather observer, provided his assessment, stating, “The PAGASA Hinatuan doppler radar and synoptic station was declared unsafe, and it needed to be demolished or abandoned, based on the assessment conducted by the competent teams from different concerned government agencies composed of expert personnel.”

Bompat further disclosed the objective recommendations of the DPWH and the Hinatuan Municipal Engineering Office after they evaluated the structure, including the ocular result from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), confirming the place is prone to liquefaction or the loosening of waterlogged soil underground and the need to build a new structure ina safer location, and the current facility should be abandoned.

The lead agencies, DPWH, DOST, PAGASA, and PHIVOLCS, unanimously informed the provincial government of Surigao del Sur and Hinatuan town to abandon the facility due to severity of thedamage brought by the earthquake. They further recommended the relocation and reinstallation of a new weather station instead. Photo courtesy of DOST-SDS.

Surigao del Sur 1st District Rep. Romeo Momo Sr. expressed his support, saying, “We might be able to find a way to fund the establishment of the new building for the weather station. The equipment, on the other hand, will be funded by the DOST.”

With the strong manifestation of the re-establishment of the damaged structure, the local government unit of Hinatuan expressed its willingness to donate a 2,000-square-meter lot in Cantabon, Sasa for the construction of the new weather station as soon as possible in the town.

Hinatuan Municipal Information and Tourism Officer Gemma S. Millan revealed that the local chief executive is putting forth his utmost effort to bring back to operational status the weather station in the town, as this is a critical facility for community resilience and disaster management. (NGPB, PIA-Surigao del Sur)

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Nida Grace P. Barcena



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