October 31, 2009

HIS EXCELLENCY
BAN KI-MOON
Secretary General
United Nations

Dear Mr. Secretary General:

Greetings!

Every 5th of June since 1972 is commemorated by the United Nations as the World Environment Day.

In 2010-2011, scientists report that there will be a solar maximum that has not occurred since fifty years ago as reported in this article from Science@NASA:

a (solar) storm is coming–the most intense solar maximum in fifty years. The prediction comes from a team led by Mausumi Dikpati of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). “The next sunspot cycle will be 30% to 50% stronger than the previous one,” she says. If correct, the years ahead could produce a burst of solar activity second only to the historic Solar Max of 1958. Read more about it here

This and other factors will result in major disasters during the period in question. Our group of professionals advocating environment protection and disaster damage diminution respectfully request the United Nations to support our effort to organize a Geo Hazard Mapping and Environment Summit in 2010 and we are determined that this gathering be convened in Manila, Philippines.

In this connection, may we respectfully request the following:

1. United Nations and its concerned departments participate in the Summit and help in organizing said event
2. The Year 2010 be declared as the International Geo Hazard Mapping Year
3. The month of April 2010 be declared as the International Disaster Risk Reduction Month; and finally,
4. The date of April 17, 2010 be declared as the first World Hazards Awareness Day.

That these declarations be formally announced in Manila prior to the Summit.

Thank you ever so much! Mabuhay!!!

Respectfully yours,

Organizers HMES 2010

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The Philippines has a long way to go in weather forecasting.  For a long time, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration or popularly known as PAGASA has been waiting for its order of at least ten S-band Doppler Radars.  The first delivery being half of the lot.  This has not happened.

PAGASA has been relying in part on the steady stream of free inputs with its membership in the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).  Certain quarters suggested the creation of a Philippine space agency in 2007 and a data communications (satellite) based agency as early as 1988.  No one listened to the proposals.  If the former Sec. Emilia Boncodin of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) even singlehandedly torpedoed down the creation of the Congress-legislated National Transport Safety Board, much more a space agency. And because of Boncodin’s single act, the whole situation is so fucked up that tragic disasters and crises involving mishaps at sea have been happening left and right and can’t be stopped from happening in the future. There were those who unnecessarily criticized and lambasted the proponent of a Philippine space agency, a retiring engineer at PAGASA, as foolish.

The project proposed to create a functional data communication agency, the Philippine Satellite Communication Operation, Research and Development Council (PSCRDC) in 1988, at the diminishing level of euphoria over EDSA I was probably just thrown in the garbage can.  If real and pseudo scholars will check at the Records Office in Malacañang, there is heavy doubt if the document was even registered as received by the Office of the President, even under the heading of Classified matter.  The project paper had a stamp of SECRET all over it.

The PSCRDC was clearly envisioned to be a Philippine space agency and it preceded the idea submitted by Engr. Bernardo Soriano.  Soriano appears to be an admin man, although he should be equipped with a doctorate after serving more than 30 years in PAGASA.  Why he submitted the idea for PASA could be due to his years of experiencing faulty detection and forecasting at PAGASA.

The Philippine Government should review the PAGASA proposal now and not at any other later time.  S-band Radars are all right.  But is it state-of-the-art in storm detection radars (SDR)?  If the investment to buy 10 radars will not cover the entire archipelago, what is the use of having the Dopplers?

Will it not pay more to have a stronger space agency and to invest more inputs for a mechanism to generate more data from outer space than is available today for the country?  After all, how many end-users are there for satellite data?  Nearly everyone has a use for information from outer space, not the least of which are those in the field of environment management, business, civil and military aviation, shipping, land transport, logistics, defense, law enforcement and just about any Googler and ArcGIS map user out there that includes many students, teachers, professionals who know how to.  And if you count them all, the number runs to millions.

That in itself is already a huge market.  Considering that the Philippine business traffic overlaps with those of many other countries, there is also revenue potential in this area.

For this reason, Cyberpark Telecom, our company has extended its sights towards business that relies on outer space data and possibly to generate a positive relationship with Smart Communications in this regard.

While there is only one Philippine satellite, see data from SatNews below, there is also great good that will come about if the satellite were boosted and fully equipped with new components and gadgetry to increase its sensing capabilities and other functions.  And that is where we come in.  If the Agila II Satellite people will not accept our offer, we can go shopping for other partners.  There are hundreds of satellites, real and artificial orbiting in outer space. India alone has ten satellites.  Or we could opt to launch our own satellites in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology in the near future.

By then, government must have renamed the PAGASA into a Philippine Space Agency as Soriano dreamed of.  But today we urge the administration of HE  PGMA to start pushing its cluster of agencies to map out the strengthening of RP’s capacities for using outer space as a valuable resource in many of its concerns.

As we are advocating in Resource Recovery Movement, there is a need for policy regime change in the area of mapping as it relates to environment, to global warming, to its many applications in engineering, architectural township planning, urban development, agriculture, etc.

The link to information on the Agila II Satellite: SatNews