Written by Ma. Ethelwilda G. Coronacion, PSTD, DOST-Occidental Mindoro
Monday, 17 February 2014

The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-PHIVOLCS) and the Department of Science and Technology- Advance Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI), in collaboration with the Local Government Unit of Lubang (LGU-Lubang), conducted an Information and Education Campaign entitled “Establishment of a Cost-Effective Local Tsunami Warning System (TeWS) for High-Risk Coastal Communities” at Lubang, Occidental Mindoro on December 13-14, 2013.

The activity was led by PHIVOLCS personnel Engr. Angelito Lanuza, Supervising Science Research Specialist and TeWS project leader, Ms. Joan Salcedo, Supervising Science Research Specialist (Geologic Disaster Awareness and Preparedness), Mr. Arnaldo Melosantos, Supervising Science Research Specialist (Geologic Disaster Awareness and Preparedness), Mr. Melcario Pagtalunan, Senior Science Research Specialist (Geologic Disaster Awareness and Preparedness), Ms. Esther Garrido, Science Research Specialist II (Geologic Disaster Preparedness and Awareness, PHIVOLCS), Mr. Karl Vincent Soriano, Science Research Assistant (Seismological Observation and Earthquake Prediction, PHIVOLCS), and TeWS project staff Mr. Dandy Camero and Mr. Kristofferson Vidad.

Meanwhile, Engr. Jeorge Saracanlao, Science Research Specialist II, Mr. Ryan Mark Ambong, Science Research Analyst from PSTC-Occidental Mindoro, and Mr. Allan David Carandang, Science Research Analyst from DOST-MIMAROPA, together with Mr. Marc Rembrant Victore and Mr. Jose Roberto Mancagang from OCD-MIMAROPA, served as the facilitators of the said activity.

The two-day capacity building on community-based tsunami early warning system was attended by the LGUs including the Municipal Disaster and Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC), Municipal Planning and Development Office (MPDO), Municipal Health Office (MHO), Philippine Army, Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Barangay Councils of the municipality. Lubang Mayor Juan Sanchez welcomed all the participants and guests on the first day.

During the seminar, participants were grouped per barangay with facilitators from the Office Civil Defense-MIMAROPA Region (OCD-MIMAROPA) and the Department of Science and Technology-MIMAROPA Region (DOST-MIMAROPA). The participants, especially the barangay leaders, were taught how to prepare the barangay spot map and the tsunami evacuation map. During the focus group discussion, the participants were asked how they will prepare for the earthquake and tsunami and how they can effectively disseminate the information they learned from the lectures. A set of questions were given by the resource speakers and each group leader presented their respective answers in front of the audience.

Lubang Island has an existing fault line called the Lubang Trench. The tsunami detecting facility was already installed in Tilik Port while the tsunami alarm and tsunami evacuation route sign, which tells the distance from tsunami prone areas up to the safe zone, were put up around the Lubang municipal plaza. The tsunami alarm is connected to the tsunami detector and will send an alarm when tsunami is detected. The alarm will automatically signify the transfer of the villagers to the evacuation areas. Every barangay has different levels of risk identified during the workshop on evacuation spot mapping. Those that are near the coastal areas are advised to be more alert in the incidence of earthquake and tsunami. Some barangays especially the mountainous areas are identified to be safer and can be considered as an evacuation quarter in the occurrence of the calamity. The very purpose of the activity was to inform and educate the leaders as well as the health, disaster, and rescue workers about disaster awareness and preparedness.