PIA utilizes Facebook in saving lives

MANILA—As the lead information arm of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) has taken an active role in providing timely information that aided relief and rescue efforts as heavy and intermittent rains cut a path of destruction across eight regions in the country.

PIA Director-General Jose A. Fabia said the agency, through its Weather Watch page on the popular social media platform Facebook, provides accurate and timely situation reports that have become the basis of government agencies involved in disaster response to act immediately in the rescue, relief and rehabilitation of the affected population.

“It is important not only for us to provide timely information but also for the government agencies to use this information as basis for their action to save lives and protect properties,” Fabia said.

The Weather Watch contains field reports gathered by PIA’s 16 regional offices and 51 provincial information centers and news reports monitored from radio, television, print and online. The web page was launched in early October last year in anticipation of the onslaught of Super Typhoon Juan.

NDRRMC Executive Director Benito Ramos recognized PIA’s role in addressing the dearth of information during the previous calamities, adding they are keeping track of all information posted on Weather Watch to determine the priority areas for deployment of rescue equipment, personnel and relief goods.

“Ang laki ng naitulong ng PIA in the flow of information on alerts and warnings. Noon kulang ang impormasyon pero ngayon there is an overflow of information doon sa Weather Watch,” Ramos said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development also refers to Weather Watch for updates regarding evacuation sites. The web page also serves as a venue for people in and out of the country who have relatives and friends in affected areas to get real-time updates on the calamity situation.

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