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Press Release

Phivolcs, Smart to develop low-cost 
earthquake-monitoring device

By Jonathan L. Mayuga

THE Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has forged a partnership with Smart Communications Inc. for the development of low-cost earthquake-monitoring device in support of disaster preparedness effort of the government.This was announced by Phivolcs director Renato Solidum Jr. during the opening ceremony on Tuesday of a three-day exhibit at Phivolcs Building on C.P. Garcia Avenue, UP Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, which was highlighted by the signing of a memorandum of agreement between Phivolcs and Smart, represented by Darwin Flores, senior manager for communications of Smart Communications Inc.

Under the agreement, Smart, through its Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (SWEEP), member-schools will conduct research and development to come up with a low-cost earthquake-monitoring device for mass production and distribution to communities, Solidum said.

“This will be very helpful because this will enhance our community-based monitoring network for disaster preparedness,” he said.

There are currently 40 SWEEP member-schools, colleges and universities offering electronics communication engineering courses, of which 10 had already committed to participate. Nova Concepcion, Smart program and project coordinator, identified the 10 schools as Ateneo de Davao, Ateneo de Zamboanga, Xavier University (formerly Ateneo de Cagayan), University of San Carlos in Cebu, Adamson University, Feati University, De La Salle—Lipa, University of Baguio, Notre Dame of Marvel, Cotabato, and Western Visayas College of Science and Technology in Iloilo.According to Flores, the objective of the project is to come up with the low-cost seismograph, which records ground movement to determine the magnitude and intensity of the earthquake.

“When the technology is already developed and made available to communities, we will link it to Phivolcs, which will then verify and coordinate to concerned agencies for quick response,” Flores added.

“A simple text message informing us of earthquake occurrence in the community will allow us to move quickly and verify the nature of the earthquake.  That way, we can act immediately.  Everything will be science-based,” he said.

Phivolcs boasts of having one of the most advanced volcano monitoring systems and sophisticated gadgets in Asia, some of which were in display for the three-day Open House exhibit at Phivolcs, which will run until July 20

However, Solidum said there’s a need for community-based monitoring to enhance the agency’s earthquake-monitoring efficiency.Aside from seismograph, Phivolcs also have Correlation Spectrometer, or Cospec, which measures sulfur dioxide gas emission from volcanoes; electronic distance meter, or EDM, which measures millimeter-level ground deformation on the flanks of a volcano; and pH meter, which measures the acidity of water.-