By Niño N. Luces
Legazpi City, Albay — The United Kingdom (UK) Space Agency has selected the regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Bicol as the pioneer testing ground for a communications satellite project for the purpose of disaster reporting and response communications.
DWSD-Bicol Regional Director Arnel Garcia confirmed yesterday that the partnership between the Philippine government and the UK Space Agency to establish a reliable and stable mobile and data connection within the first 24 hours after disasters strike is in its initial stage.
Garcia said the initial dialogue has been made and the project will be implemented for two years that will officially start this coming April.
He said that DSWD regional office that also serves as the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management (RDRRM) Deputy on Response Cluster and also the lead agency on disaster response will receive five units of communication satellites which will be installed in its main office and provincial offices.
Garcia narrated that after eight months, afour out of these five units will be redistributed to other DSWD regional offices and Inmarsat – a British mobile satellite company – will donate the equipment to DSWD once the project ends in 2019.
Garcia explained that the DSWD is been bolstering its efforts to improve its operations systems during disaster response and has reassured that the stewardship of the communication equipment is its prime lookout.