Aboitiz donates weather technology assets to government

July 01, 2020

A TOTAL of 19 30-watt solar panels, complete with batteries, were turned over by the Aboitiz Group to the Department of Agriculture (DA) in support of the urban garden set-up of the DA-Bureau of Plant Industry under its Plant Plant Plant Program. Present during the turnover were Aboitiz Foundation Chief Operating Officer Maribeth L. Marasigan (2nd from left) and DA Secretary William H. Dar (3rd from left).

THE Aboitiz Group recently turned over 217 Automated Weather Stations (AWS) sites and over 250 weather technology assets to various government agencies, local government units as well as to some non-government organizations as part of the Group’s efforts to support the development of more community-based development projects and boost the country’s disaster resilience programs.

These assets, which include rain gauges, solar panels, satellite transmitters, and weather detectors, among others, were recently turned over to the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA), the Manila Observatory, and the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Bureau of Plant Industry.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar expressed his utmost gratitude to Aboitiz Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the Aboitiz Group, for the donation of weather assets to benefit the department’s initiatives. 

“In agriculture, the use of solar energy to power our irrigation systems and run our AWS that deliver much-needed weather forecasts—as pioneered in the country by WeatherPhilippines—is proving to be a smart, cost-effective and earth-friendly way of doing agriculture, which is why we are truly happy and excited for this donation, composed of 19 sets of solar panels and rechargeable batteries, as this will go a long way in boosting our Urban Agriculture Program, especially for hydroponics and aquaponics, as we intensify our drive towards sustainable, strong and climate-resilient food production,” Dar said.

Dar recognizes the substantial assistance extended by private companies to the government.

The turnover of assets, which comes at a time when the country grapples with the pandemic, marks the official winding down of WeatherPhilippines.

“Although we are winding down the WeatherPhilippines Foundation, we consider today’s event as a turn over of not just solar panels, but a set of golden keys that will unlock many great possibilities for our agriculture sector - especially in terms of hydroponics, weather technology, sustainable livelihood, and inclusive agribusiness,” said Maribeth L. Marasigan, Aboitiz Foundation President and Chief Operating Officer.

Meanwhile, the Manila Observatory received weather assets namely (Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) data loggers, IDP satellite transmitters, and lightning detectors) for the advancement of its weather research efforts. This will help continue the Aboitiz Group’s community-based development projects and boost the country’s disaster resilience programs.

The donation to DOST-PAGASA was also greatly welcomed for its significant impact in addressing the agency’s concerns.

WeatherPhilippines is a multi-sectoral initiative founded in 2012 by the Aboitiz Foundation and UnionBank that provides a premier weather-sensing and forecasting system designed for social and economic growth.

“This donation showcases cooperation and collaboration between the government and the private sector. We in DOST-PAGASA consider partnership as the best tool in addressing concerns that affect the community brought about by natural hazards and climate change which leverages technical know-how through the development of local technology,” said Dr. Vicente Malano, PAGASA Administrator.

The donations will pave the way for more community-based disaster risk reduction and management projects to be adopted by the Aboitiz Foundation nationwide beginning this month.