Officials from Taiwan and the Philippines talk in front of a weather station model in Manila. (Photo/CNA)
The Philippines on Thursday officially activated 15 automatic weather stations donated by Taiwan that it hopes will help the country better prepare for the arrival of powerful typhoons in the future.
Graciano P Yumul Jr, an undersecretary in the Philippines' Department of Science and Technology, said at the ceremony launching the weather stations that the event marked a new milestone for technological cooperation between the two countries.
The idea behind the initiative took shape in 2009 after typhoons Ketsana and Parma caused great havoc in the Philippines, leading Taiwan's representative to the country, Donald Lee, to suggest that Taiwan's government help upgrade local weather equipment.
Taipei agreed and donated US$280,000 in February 2010 to build 15 automatic weather stations, one information center and two working stations on Luzon Island.
A Philippine weather bureau official said the new equipment can predict the path of typhoons before they hit, giving local authorities more time to take emergency measures prior to the storm's arrival and hopefully reduce damage.
The Philippines weather bureau will also share information from the new weather stations with Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau, helping expand the range of Taiwan's weather forecasts.
In addition to Yumul and Lee, also attending Thursday's ceremony were National Science Council deputy minister Chen Cheng-hong and Amadeo Perez, Jr, the chairman of the Manila Economic Cultural Office.