Philippines: Experts push for open data law to reduce disaster risk
A multisectoral forum of scientists, academics, government and civil-society experts are pushing for a new law that provides open access to data that are crucial in responding to disasters.
Dr. Alfredo Mahar Lagmay, a professor at the National Institute of Geological Sciences, University of the Philippines, presented the findings of his study, titled “An Open Data Law for Climate Resilience and Disaster Risk Reduction,” at a forum organized by independent think tank Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute (ADRi) last week.
Prof. Dindo Manhit, president of Stratbase ADRi, said while strides have been made on disaster preparedness since Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan) hit the country in 2013, the study remains highly relevant with the frequency of natural disasters hitting the country every year.
“We’re one of the most vulnerable countries to the effects of climate change, as well as other natural disasters, owing mainly to our geographical location. Worse, the consequence of these disasters is aggravated by poor infrastructure, which is more pronounced in the countryside, where, tragically, calamities more frequently occur,” he said.
Lagmay cited an incident during the rescue operations following the 2006 landslide in Saint Bernard, Southern Leyte, as a testament to the life-saving potential of freely available data in disaster response.