Marikina City has become the pilot recipient of the MOSES (Mobile Operational System for Emergency Services) tablet, an 8-inch Internet-based, two-way communication tool between warning agencies and disaster responders. Twenty tablets have been handed over to the local government.
MOSES can receive real-time weather and flood information from pre-installed mobile applications such as PAGASA, Project NOAH, and ARKO which provides detailed flood maps.
Launched in July 6, 2012 in Barangay Balubad, Concepcion Uno, Marikina City, Project NOAH was the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) response to President Benigno Aquino III’s instruction to put in place a responsive program for disaster prevention and mitigation. Its aim was to provide a 6-hour lead time warning to vulnerable communities against impending floods and use advanced technology to enhance current geo-hazard vulnerability maps. The launch was attended by no less than the President himself.
Being vulnerable to floods and having been inundated by Tropical Storm Ondoy in 2009, Marikina City was targeted as pilot area for Project NOAH.
“You are all aware Marikina City serves as a catch basin of rainwater coming from San Mateo and Montalban, Rizal and the cities of Antipolo and Quezon. During typhoons and heavy monsoon rains, Marikina river overflows, affecting 10,000 residents,” said Dr. Val Barcinal, head of Marikina City’s disaster and risk reduction management office (DRRMO), in his testimonial during Project NOAH’s (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) second anniversary press conference.
Barcinal explained that as much as 90 percent of the city could be inundated in case of extreme flooding.
However, Project NOAH has become a saving grace for the city of Marikina, as stated by Barcinal in the presscon.
From 35 casualties when Ondoy hit the country, Marikina City recorded zero deaths when Habagat inundated the most part of Metro Manila in August 2012, a month after Project NOAH was launched.
The city government attributes their improved disaster preparedness efforts to Project NOAH and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration or PAGASA – another agency under the DOST.
“With the use of the Internet, critical, reliable, authoritative, understandable and timely information is conveyed to us in the DRRMO,” Barcinal said. “Project NOAH is our most vital operational tool to monitor and track typhoons.”