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NDRRMC developing protocol on haze

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - October 29, 2015 - 4:45am

MANILA, Philippines — The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is developing a protocol on haze even if the Philippines is already clear of haze from forest fires in Indonesia.

NDRRMC Executive Director Alexander Pama said in a press briefing on Thursday that the protocol would be included in the country’s pre-disaster risk assessment plan.

He admitted that the current plan does not contain preparations for the impact of haze, defined as an atmospheric condition when smoke, dust and moisture suspended in the air obscure visibility.

“For now we do not have (protocol for haze). We are developing it. We want to consolidate it. It’s something we have to put formally in our plan,” Pama said.

“It seems that haze, at least in recent memory, is a new phenomenon as far as we’re concerned. We will develop protocols and we need to be aware of the possible hazards.”

When asked if those who crafted the pre-disaster risk assessment plan failed to anticipate the possible effects of haze, Pama said: “That’s for you to conclude than me.”

When pressed why there is no protocol on haze when other countries have been experiencing it for a long time, Pama replied: “The situation in other countries is different. The temperature and wind movement are different.”

The protocol will be developed by various agencies with the help of experts from the academe.

“It’s an interagency effort headed by NDRRMC. We can’t wait for a disaster to happen before we act,” Pama said.

Earlier, the weather bureau PAGASA said winds have blown away haze from forest fires in Indonesia. The poor visibility in Metro Manila has been attributed to air pollution emitted by vehicles.

PAGASA said the prevailing northeast monsoon blew the haze away from the Philippines but it can recur if forest fires in Indonesia persist. No weather system is expected to bring back the haze to the country in the next few days.

Thick smoke and haze have affected parts of Visayas and Mindanao last week because of typhoon “Lando.”

ACIRC DISASTER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ALEXANDER PAMA HAZE LANDO METRO MANILA NATIONAL DISASTER RISK REDUCTION AND MANAGEMENT COUNCIL PAMA PLAN PROTOCOL VISAYAS AND MINDANAO
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