Sunday , June 23 2024

DOST 1 Champions Full-Scale Disaster Readiness Training Across all Provinces in Region 1

Under the leadership of Dr. Teresita A. Tabaog, Department of Science and Technology Region 1 (DOST-1) Regional Director, a transformative initiative took shape in the northern Philippines, partnering with DOST-Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), led by Dir. Teresito Bacolcol, DOST 1 has successfully conducted the series of capacity-building sessions on the use of GeoRisk Philippines platforms. This initiative, the first of its kind in the Philippines, involved local and provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) officers from 124 local government units (LGUs) across all provinces in Region 1.

Supported by the Region 1 Provincial Governors and also are members of the DOST 1 Science Ambassadors, the training sessions were held from February 20-22, 2024, for the Province of Pangasinan; March 12-13, 2024, for the Province of Ilocos Sur, which included the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the adoption of GeoRisk PH Platform; April 24-25, 2024, for the Province of La Union, and May 13-14, 2024 for the Province of Ilocos Norte. Dr. Tabaog emphasized the importance of this initiative, noting that empowering local government units with the knowledge and tools to effectively manage and mitigate risks is crucial for building resilient communities. She highlighted that this training program demonstrates DOST Region 1’s commitment to enhancing disaster preparedness and resilience in the region.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that the MOAs for the adoption of GeoRisk PH for the provinces of La Union, Ilocos Norte, and Pangasinan are already in process, further solidifying the region’s dedication to disaster preparedness and management.

GeoRisk Philippines is a multi-agency initiative led by the DOST-PHIVOLCS. Funded by the DOST and monitored by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) from 2018 to 2020, GeoRisk Philippines has been institutionalized within DOST-PHIVOLCS since 2021. The initiative offers a suite of advanced geospatial tools designed to deliver accessible, accurate, and up-to-date information on natural hazards, crucial for disaster risk reduction and management.

The GeoRiskPH platforms include HazardHunterPH, which generates detailed hazard assessment reports for any location in the Philippines; GeoAnalyticsPH, which analyzes and visualizes hazard and exposure data; GeoMapperPH, which collects and manages geospatial data; and PlanSmart Ready to Rebuild, which helps local governments develop and implement effective disaster recovery plans. These platforms, accessible via a mobile application, ensure that critical information is always within reach, enhancing the readiness and responsiveness of DRRM officers. Experts from DOST-PHIVOLCS provided hands-on and interactive training, ensuring participants are proficient in utilizing these platforms to their fullest potential.

This capacity-building effort also serves as a precursor to the HANDA Pilipinas Luzon Leg, which DOST Region 1 will host on July 3-5, 2024, at Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, aiming to convene leaders from across the country. The event will showcase the power of collaboration, partnerships, and technology, while also featuring various DRRM technologies that can enhance disaster risk management efforts across the provinces.

This initiative from DOST Region 1 demonstrates the impact of visionary leadership and effective partnerships in tackling the challenges of disaster risk reduction management. By leveraging advanced technology and comprehensive training, Region 1 is setting an example that will hopefully be replicated across the nation, contributing to a safer and more resilient Philippines. (Christian Dominic I. Casimiro)

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