Project Noah turned over to DOST as UP adopts research team

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has now taken over the administration of Project Noah (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards), which will now be implemented across multiple agencies led by weather bureau Pagasa.

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The formal turnover ceremonies was held on Monday, Feb. 27, at the Sulo Riviera Hotel in Quezon City in spite of the move last Feb. 23 by the University of the Philippines to officially adopt the initiative.

In a statement after a meeting of its Board of Regents, UP president Danilo Concepcion said “Project Noah is coming home,” noting that the project was conceived by the DOST with the help of UP professors, led by its executive director Dr. Mahar Lagmay, from the National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGS), and that most of the project’s staff came from UP.

“The project’s benefits go far beyond its research value,” said Concepcion. “It has literally been a lifesaver for millions of Filipinos threatened by natural disasters like floods, landslides, and storm surges. It deserves a new lease on life, and UP is happy to welcome it into its fold.”

However, DOST secretary Fortunato dela Pena clarified that it is mostly the research unit and staff led by Lagmay which UP is adopting in line with its function as a research institution.

“We welcome this step taken by UP, which is a leader in the field of research,” said Dela Pena, himself a long-time UP official and professor before being named DOST chief.

Project Noah, which began as a research program under the DOST in 2012 following the Typhoon Sendong tragedy in 2011, have various components handled by different agencies, among them UP.

The project, however, became closely identified with UP as it was Lagmay’s team at the state university which maintained the Noah website and coordinated with the various agencies involved.

UP also serves as host to one of the main components of Project Noah, the DREAM (Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation) program, which is being led by engineering professor Dr. Eric Paringit.

Lagmay, who was present during the turnover ceremonies, said they have accomplished the objectives of the research initiative.

Also the event, Dela Pena announced the appointment of Phivolcs director Renato Solidum as concurrent DOST undersecretary for disaster preparedness and risk mitigation.“This area of concern has become really big so we need a point person in the department,” Dela Pena said.

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