During the Press Conference, organized by the “CAP on a Map project” in Quezon City, the Philippine Media asked the question, “how would the new system help Philippines?” The new system the they were referring to was the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) -enabled and Sahana Alerting and Messaging Broker (SAMBRO) technology.
The answer was two fold:
ONE – The CAP-enabled SAMBRO implementation, in the Philippines, was fixing the last-mile problem by bridging the last-mile communities and First-Responders in the early warning communication chain. To achieve this, SAMBRO makes use of every available communications channel. Integrating disparate communication technologies is complex. The CAP content standard, a globally accepted, presents itself as the foremost solution for removing those complexities. It is designed to collate the warning message payloads for all-hazards and for all-media. Thereby, allowing the SAMBRO CAP-enabled software to automate the dissemination of the targeted messages to intended recipients.
TWO – Present day practice is for each and every National and Local Alerting Authority to publish the public alerts on their own websites and their own social media channels. This requires warning message consumers, such the Media, to monitor every channel. Instead, SAMBRO acting as an Alert Hub and a Situational-Awareness Platform, provides a single point of entry to receive every alert that is published by each and every Alerting Authority; thus, a one-stop-shop. When a new entity joins in to begin issuing warnings, the Media or the Public does not need to monitor the new channel. They would automatically receive the warning through the SAMBRO Alert Hub.
Before the Press Conference –
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the lead implementer of CAP on a Map Project in the Philippines, facilitated a dissemination workshop (14th September 2016). The participants were presented the project implementation outcomes and fostered an environment for the participants to discuss the next steps of expanding CAP and adopting SAMBRO Nation-wide. A key activity was demonstrating the interoperability and dissemination features of the Philippine customization of SAMBRO. Workshop participants were members of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of the Philippines.
The participants were presented with two discussion points:
- How do the NDRRMC members envision expanding CAP in the Philippines? Are their plans to mandate CAP as “the” warning standard in the Philippines? Are their plans to develop a CAP-PH policy, procedure, and implementation plans?
- Should the other Stakeholders be using SAMBRO to: (a) “relay” (or re-originate) issued warnings to disseminate to their members? If yes, what are the next steps and (b) serve as the Philippines Alert Hub at the OCD-EOC for the Media, Public, and other Stakeholders to subscribe to alerts?
The first (1) discussion point could not be addressed until there was a consensus and adequate evidence on the utilization and acceptance of SAMBRO. The subsequent sections discuss the second (2) point.
Wider Adoption of SAMBRO in the Philippines
NDRRMC Alert Hub
The consensus among the Philippine National Warning and Response Authorities was that SAMBRO should serve as an Alert Hub and a Situational-Awareness Platform. NDRRMC members, mandated with originating warnings (e.g. PAGASA & PHIVOLCS), should provide a CAP feed for SAMBRO. Then the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD), acting as the Secretariat to NDRRMC and facilitates an Emergency Operation Center (EOC), would render and relay those alerts through the SAMBRO system.
Strategy for launching the Philippines Alert Hub
The Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) is in the process of implementing SAMBRO. They will first use it to test the capabilities for issuing earthquake and tsunami warnings. Thereafter, they will include volcanic eruption an seismically induced landslides. Thereafter, PHIVOLCS and PAGASA will present the evidence from their CAP implementations to NDRRMC to get the buy in from all the members to adopt CAP. SAMBRO will serve as the CAP-enabled Alert Hub for receiving each and every hazard alert form the respective agencies.
Currently, the GIZ and Mega Cebu Development Board (MCDCB), chaired by the Provincial Governor of Cebu, signed a frame work of agreement for the conceptualization and operationalization of effective and efficient disaster risk management in metro Cebu areas, which is composed of 13 Cities and Municipalities in the coastal and central part of Cebu Island. They have ensured the full cooperation of other agencies to be involve in piloting CAP in the metro Cebu area. They keen in adopting SAMBRO and providing CAP feeds, originating from the Province of Cebu, to the NDRRMC (or PAGASA in its present form).
Given the short duration of the “CAP on a Map” project, these initiatives will slowly fall in at their own pace. The “CAP on a Map” project, made possible through the UN-ESCAP Multi-donor Trust Fund, is ending in October, 2016. Nevertheless, we are committed to supporting these initiatives to see that Philippines achieves its goals in fostering the CAP standard and operationalizing the NDRRMC SAMBRO Alert Hub.