Project NOAH at risk of being shut down due to lack of funding

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Project NOAH, the program created by the DOST to mitigate the risk of disasters in the Philippines is now at risk due to a lack of funding.

Project NOAH Executive Director Mahar Lagmay confirmed that the Project NOAH, which is the country's flagship disaster management initiative will only last until February 28, citing a lack of funding as the main reason for the shut down.

First in the country

Project NOAH was developed as comprehensive disaster prevention and mitigation program back in 2012. Being the first program of it's kind in the country, Project NOAH has been invaluable in saving lives and making sure that communities who are most affected by floods and natural disasters are given ample time to be warned about disaster.

Project NOAH has also received numerous awards, including being named as the Top Smart City Initiative in Public Safety at the Smart City Asia Pacific Awards (SCAPA) 2016.

The request for extension will not be approved

Mahar Lagmay shared on a Facebook post, "We were told verbally that our request for extension will not be approved. It is one month before February 28 and it takes time to sign documents and have funds transferred to UP where we work. Therefore, there will be at least 2-3 months before the scientists/researchers will get paid."

He adds, "Last year, it was 5 months before the scientists got paid because our proposal to continue was disapproved. We just made an appeal. But we lost 40 well-trained, skilled, and experienced scientists. Two years ago, researchers' salaries were delayed by 3-4 months. How will they eat? For those researchers who have families, what will they provide to their children?"

Not Duterte's fault

However, he clarified that this wasn't the fault of the Duterte administration as the mid-level officials of the DOST informed them that there was no available funding for the project.

"Since two years ago na po kami sinasabihan ng mid-level government officials of DOST na walang pondo ang Project NOAH. Aquino administration pa. These officials are still with the government until now."

The Department of Agriculture needs NOAH

Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said that he will be doing everything that he can in order to make sure that Project NOAH isn't shut down.

He shared on a Facebook post that shutting down Project NOAH would prove disastrous, since the country regularly experiences one flood after another.

"I will do everything to save it. Initially, I will talk to President Rody Duterte and ask him to allow the DA to take over Project NOAH. They were advised that there would be no more funding during the term of President Aquino. I'm sure that President Duterte will ensure the project's continuation," He adds.

Source: news.abs-cbn.com, gov.ph, rappler.com

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