The Aboitiz Group is turning over 217 Automated Weather Stations (AWS) sites and over 250 weather technology assets to various government agencies, local government units as well as to some non-government organizations as part of the Group’s efforts to support the development of more community-based development projects and boost the country’s disaster resilience programs.
These assets, which include rain gauges, solar panels, satellite transmitters, and weather detectors, among others, were recently turned over to the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA), the Manila Observatory, and the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Bureau of Plant Industry.
Donation to DA
Agriculture Sec. William Dar expressed his utmost gratitude to Aboitiz Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the Aboitiz Group, for the donation of weather assets to benefit the department’s initiatives.
“In agriculture, the use of solar energy to power our irrigation systems and run our AWS that deliver much-needed weather forecasts—as pioneered in the country by WeatherPhilippines—is proving to be a smart, cost-effective and earth-friendly way of doing agriculture, which is why we are truly happy and excited for this donation, composed of 19 sets of solar panels and rechargeable batteries, as this will go a long way in boosting our Urban Agriculture Program, especially for hydroponics and aquaponics, as we intensify our drive towards sustainable, strong and climate-resilient food production,” Dar said.
Dar recognizes the substantial assistance extended by private companies to the government.
“Indeed, the purpose of this endowment, and the emphasis placed by more and more Filipino companies like Aboitiz on corporate social responsibility, demonstrate that prosperity is best achieved in a society that is both inclusive and responsible,” Dar added.
The turnover of assets, which comes at a time when the country grapples with the pandemic, marks the official winding down of WeatherPhilippines.
“Although we are winding down the WeatherPhilippines Foundation, we consider today’s event as a turn over of not just solar panels, but a set of golden keys that will unlock many great possibilities for our agriculture sector – especially in terms of hydroponics, weather technology, sustainable livelihood, and inclusive agribusiness,” said Maribeth L. Marasigan, Aboitiz Foundation President and Chief Operating Officer.
Donation to Manila Observatory
Meanwhile, the Manila Observatory received weather assets namely (Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) data loggers, IDP satellite transmitters, and lightning detectors) for the advancement of its weather research efforts. This will help continue the Aboitiz Group’s community-based development projects and boost the country’s disaster resilience programs.
Donation to DOST-PAGASA
The donation to DOST-PAGASA was also greatly welcomed for its significant impact in addressing the agency’s concerns.
“This donation showcases cooperation and collaboration between the government and the private sector. We in DOST-PAGASA consider partnership as the best tool in addressing concerns that affect the community brought about by natural hazards and climate change which leverages technical know-how through the development of local technology,” said Dr. Vicente Malano, PAGASA Administrator.
WeatherPhilippines is a multi-sectoral initiative founded in 2012 by the Aboitiz Foundation and UnionBank that provides a premier weather-sensing and forecasting system designed for social and economic growth.
“Much of the AWS are installed on locations wherein PAGASA has observation gaps. The observed meteorological data will certainly boost our capacity in supplying needed data and information in the preparation of forecasts, warnings, and advisories, particularly that of rainfall. Since the AWS are already installed and co-hosted by concerned government institutions and/or private companies, agency work has been eased to a great degree,” Malano added.
The donations will pave the way for more community-based disaster risk reduction and management projects to be adopted by the Aboitiz Foundation nationwide beginning July.
“We thank all of our partners and #WeatherWiser Nation ambassadors for the support over the past eight years. We take pride in the milestones we achieved by working together,” Marasigan said.
As the first private, nonprofit weather technology organization in the Philippines, WeatherPhilippines has gathered the support of nearly 600 donors and partners both from the public and private sectors, and maintained 730 AWS in 680 cities and municipalities that provided free, localized, and accurate weather information to the public through its renowned meteorologists.
It has also trained close to 900 disaster risk reduction and management officers on the use and maintenance of AWS and built the capabilities of about 9,500 community members and teachers on weather knowledge nationwide.