By Edd K. Usman
US tech titan IBM is boosting the Philippines’ disaster management capabilities, providing training to help two agencies enhance service deliveries.
To be led by the company’s Corporate Service Corps (CSC) members, the program will bring technology and its “IBM experience” to further aid the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), a company executive said.
In turn, the project will also help IBM’s CSC members “gain experience for leadership development and cultural understanding that will help them become better IBM employees,” David Raper, IBM’s lead for corporate citizenship for Asia Pacific and Greater China, said.
“For us, our purpose is to be essential and people come to work to achieve a purpose, not just to do a job,” Raper said, during the launch last October 26.
Seventeen IBM employees will be involved in the project as part of IBM’s corporate social responsibility which “involves engaging local government, business and civic leaders on technological, civic and social initiatives of vital importance.”
All 17 were split into four teams — one will help craft an Earthquake and Tsunami Information System designed to automatically generate earthquake and tsunami bulletin and messages that can be quickly posted on website of Phivolcs, social media platforms, and and sent through text and fax.
The second team — also with Phivolcs — provided recommendations on the Data Management Integration project of the agency’s Geology and Geophysical Research and Development Division (GGRDD) aimed at enhancing GGRDD’s data management covering storage, retrieval, protection, maintenance, and monitoring.
These two projects under Phivolcs were designed to empower the agency to provide timely and accurate response to their clients and stakeholders, as well as impact the agency’s risk assessment, disaster preparedness planning, and decision-making processes.
The other two teams were assigned to Pagasa — one will help develop a Strategic Communication Plan to assist the agency in identifying effective approaches to leverage information and communications technology (ICT), particularly social media, and other communication platforms to provide weather information and advisories to the public.
The IBM CSC’s fourth team helped upscale the IT security capacity of Pagasa through a vulnerability assessment and gap identification in the agency’s systems and network infrastructure.
As a whole, the project also marks the 18th deployment of IBM employees to the Philippines, sending 17 of of its most talented staff based in the United States, Mexico, Japan, India, Italy, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and Germany.
“This project in the Philippines is very special because 10 years ago in 2008, IBM Corporate Service Corps came to the Philippines for the first time. And so we are celebrating that 10 years today,” Raper said.
For his part, IBM Philippines’ president and country manager Luis Pineda said that the country remains to be a favorite region of the IBM CSC.
“The agencies take their responsibilities seriously and professionally, and are eager for input to truly improve the lives of citizens here,” he said. “We never forget that this is more than an academic exercise; the recommendations we make have the potential to make a real difference in society.”