Palace defends Pagasa, tells public to also follow TwitterBy Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Responding to widespread criticisms that the government was caught flat-footed by Tropical Storm “Gener,” Edwin Lacierda, President Aquino’s spokesperson, said Monday that relevant government agencies had issued advisories since 8 p.m. Sunday.
He said it was incumbent upon the public to dutifully follow regular weather updates, including the Twitter accounts of the state-run Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) and disaster response agencies.
“As far as we know, DOST (Department of Science and Technology) has been giving its information to the public through Twitter, through NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Coordinating Council), and through radio media stations that are following them,” Lacierda said in a Palace briefing on Monday.
Told that that it was impossible to follow Twitter amid power outages in several areas in the National Capital Region (NCR), Lacierda retorted that he continued to follow weather updates through a battery-operated radio set.
Lacierda also took cudgels for Pagasa amid its apparent failure to mention the “shallow low pressure area” belatedly spotted in Bataan, which brought strong winds and heavy rains to NCR late Sunday until early morning Monday.
“I didn’t follow the interview of (Pagasa forecaster Buddy) Javier. But, insofar as the timeline here is concerned, DOST (Department of Science and Technology) has been informing the public of the presence of a low pressure area as early as (Sunday). DOST [which oversees Pagasa] informed the public as early as 8:03–at 8 p.m. that there would be heavy rains over NCR last night,” said Lacierda.
Lacierda was also kept in the dark–just like the rest of the country–on why there was a sudden surge of LPA.
“I wouldn’t be able to know why … wouldn’t be able to determine why Mr. Javier was not aware of the presence of the low pressure area,” said Lacierda.
A of past noon Monday, Malacañang has not yet approved the proposal to declare a half-day work for state employees.
“We’re still trying to confirm. There was indeed a recommendation from the NDRRMC but we have yet to receive confirmation from the Office of the Executive Secretary if there will be any suspension of work as far as government offices are concerned. We will let you know as soon as we get word,” he said.
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Tags: Department of Science and Technology , Disaster , Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration , Government , National Disaster Risk Reduction and Coordinating Council , News , Philippine Atmospheric , tropical storm , Tropical Storm “Gener” , Weather