“We came here expecting to learn about reduction and mitigation related to hazards and calamities and disasters,” said Mayor Corinthia Crisologo of Tineg, Abra. And Crisologo, along with other local executives and disaster risk reduction officers, were satisfied.

Crisologo was one of the main participants in the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)’s campaign called “Iba na ang Panahon: Science for Safer Communities” held on May 8-9, 2014 at the Albergo Hotel in Baguio City for the provinces of the Cordillera Administrative Region.

The campaign gave Crisologo and other CAR local chief executives and key disaster officers the opportunity to learn about hazard maps and identify disasters that could greatly affect their respective communities.

“Of course it is very informative although I do have knowledge on that, pero nadadagdagan,” added Crisologo. “It augmented again my knowledge (on) how to mitigate and how to be prepared in order for the constituents of the municipality of Tineg to be well informed and resilient.”

A comprehensive seminar-workshop on disaster preparedness and risk reduction, the campaign aims to educate local government executives like governors and mayors and the frontliners on disaster management like disaster risk reduction management officers from the provincial to the city and municipality levels on the different hazards in their communities during the technical sessions and workshops.

The seminars were conducted by science experts like Director Renato U. Solidum of DOST-PHIVOLCS; Dr. Landrico U. Dalida Jr. of DOST-PAGASA; Dr. Francisco Mahar Lagmay, executive director of DOST-Project NOAH; and Engr. Czar Jakiri S. Sarmiento of the UP-DREAM under Project NOAH.

During the workshops, participants had hands-on exercises on identifying hazards in their communities like landslides and earthquakes. They also did hazard map reading exercises where they were guided to pinpoint the safe and unsafe areas in their provinces. PHIVOLCS, PAGASA and UP-DREAM distributed printed hazard maps as well as copies in DVD format. At the end of the workshops, the participants drew up their disaster management plans, elaborating responses and courses of actions before, during and after hazards happen.

Director Solidum highlighted the importance of disaster imagination to be able to respond effectively to hazards. He stressed that having information about earthquakes, tsunamis or any hazard is not enough and he encouraged the participants to imagine the effects of hazards for them to come up with appropriate responses with regard to preparedness.

On the other hand, Dr. Lagmay presented Project NOAH as a scientific tool for weather information that the public can use to monitor weather disturbances like typhoons and occurrences of flooding in almost all major cities and municipalities in the country. “The NOAH website gives information and weather data coming from about 1,000 automated rain gauges, automated water level sensors, and automated weather stations installed all over the country,” said Lagmay.

During the workshop some 36 participants from Abra province discussed among themselves and identified their major geological hazards like earthquake induced landslide, ground shaking, ground rupture and liquefaction.

Asked about what the municipality of Tineg is presently doing for disaster preparedness, Mayor Crisologo said, “We are already aware of Project NOAH, about the ARGs and we have to establish or construct them, maybe two weeks from now. Every municipality is required to have at least one… and this is the expertise of DOST and they just have to advise us and require us.”

After the Cordillera leg, the Iba na ang Panahon campaign moves further north to Tuguegarao, Cagayan to continue sharing DOST knowledge products and state-of-the-art tools in disaster management and weather information. Also, the proceedings of these events can be viewed live at (S&T Media Service)

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