The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines -- The state weather bureau yanked the color “Green” from its rain warning color code, saying it had created confusion among the public at the height of the torrential rains that inundated Metro Manila and surrounding regions in floods that have so far affected close to two million people.
Early Thursday, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration replaced Green with Orange.
The new color code is now:
PAGASA explained that the colors in the new warning code are “associated with awareness, preparedness and emergency."
The confusion stemmed over the meaning commonly associated with Green, which is “Go” or “Clear” in traffic signals.
The change in the rain warning color code was welcomed by Dr. Lem Aragones, a professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology of the University of the Philippines, who had earlier complained about the code originally used by PAGASA.
"In international standards green is something that is 'go' and 'ok'; kahit saang bansa ang green light sa stoplight go (whatever country you are in the green light at stoplights means go)," said Aragones, who is also TV5's resident science adviser. “With that logic, saan ka nakakita ng warning na green (where can you see a warning that is green)? That was a very, very big mistake."
Filipino netizens also found the switch more effective in warning the public about the severity of the rains and criticized PAGASA for its earlier flub.
"They should've followed the traffic light colors … because people are more familiar with those colors and what they signify. In the first place, its purpose is to inform the public anyway," posted Princess Ortega on one of TV5's Facebook pages.
"Ano ba kasi basehan ng (What is the basis of) PAGASA? Color chart or traffic light? Kulang kasi sa info dissemination bago nilunsad ‘yang color codes na ‘yan (There was a lack of information dissemination before they launched the color codes)," said Diane Mateo Gervais.
"Kahit palitan ang color niyan, ‘di control ng PAGASA ang lakas ng bagsak ng ulan. Be aware na lang na may ibang dahilan bakit nagbabaha ng ganiyan, self-discipline ang dapat meron tayo (Even if they change the colors, PAGASA has no control over the intensity of the rainfall. Let’s just be aware that there are other reasons why there is such flooding, we need self-discipline)," said Hasmin Ortega.
The Orange warning was first hoisted over northern Metro Manila at 9 a.m. as PAGASA warned of heavy rains.