Once again, a synergistic effort of The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Office of the Civil Defense was raised as a banner of unity in the anticipation of the shattering retaliations of nature.
Iba na ang Panahon: Science and Technology for Safer Communities is a two-day campaign for disaster preparedness information dissemination held at Romblon State University, Odiongan, Romblon on March 20-21, 2014. The event summoned local chief executives and provincial disaster risk reduction managers (PDRRM) all throughout the region. Experts from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA), Philippine Volcanology and Seismology Institute (PHIVOLCS), and the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) explicitly proportioned their knowledge about various hazards as well as calamity warning and precautions. Aside from local chief executives and PDRRM, participants from the other provinces of the MIMAROPA Region Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan LGUs, and other prominent people from different institutions were also in attendance.
The campaign was also highlighted by the press conference of VIPs such as DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Director Dr. Ma. Josefina P. Abilay, Romblon Representative Eleandro Jesus “Budoy” Madrona, Romblon Governor Eduardo “Lolong” C. Firmalo, Oriental Mindoro 2nd District Representative Reynaldo V. Umali, Oriental Mindoro Governor Alfonso V. Umali, Jr., Marinduque Representative Regina O. Reyes, DOST Assistant Secretary Raymund E. Liboro, and PHIVOLCS National Director Renato U. Solidum, and PAGASA Administrator Vicente B. Malano. The press con was imbued with provincial endorsements and reports on DOST’s year-round accomplishments.
Rustic culture and ways of living somehow slow down the penetration of modern technology. Rural areas are rather lagging behind the use of some state of the art equipment. For this, it is the campaign’s paramount concern that local government units be catalyzed by science-based tools such as high resolution maps and flood and earthquake modeling software.
Through plenary discussions done in the morning and breakout groups in the afternoon, workshops on new disaster management tools were provided. These scenarios created application exercises for the participants on risk reduction development and area-specific disaster management protocols during a calamity.
Speakers from The Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (DREAM) Program exposed the participants with flood hazard maps and inundation models to be used for 6-hr early warning. It entails data acquisition, data validation, data processing and flood modeling. Integrated Flood Information System is also presented to cultivate awareness among hydraulic parameters, exposure and flood mapping, public infrastructure planning and the like.
Hydromet sensors, flood mitigation system, enhancement of geohazard maps, Doppler radar familiarization and enhancement of storm surge vulnerability maps on the other hand were tackled by Project NOAH.
Meanwhile, PAGASA discussed about the frequency of tropical cyclones and typhoons in the Philippines. The speaker accentuated how to minimize the effects of these hazards in our community, some mitigation plan and recovery plan, warning system and communication flow, websites and IEC programs.
PHIVOLCS Director Solidum personally talked about an overview on Geologic Hazards and Warning System. “Region IV-B has been affected in the past and can be affected in the future by earthquakes and tsunamis!” he said. An info-to-info talk ensued after. Issues on Seismicity of MIMAROPA and other Vicinities in 1907 to 2014 (January) using PHIVOLCS Catalogue were taken into session. There was also a glimpse in the history about the past earthquake and tsunami occurrences. When discussions about common hazards were about to finish, related topics on Actions for Disaster Risk Management streamed after. The director finished his presentation with a series of key messages to wrap his entire discussion.
Truly, one body can be in its best when its smallest part to its enormous portion functions to its greatest. With continuous effort and cooperation, not one province will be left unaware of its environment issues. Together and through early actions brought by campaigns like this, we can attain if not zero but minimal damage and casualties whenever a calamity hits our area.
MIMAROPA, indeed, is more safety conscious region now, thanks to the DOST family.