President Benigno S. Aquino III honored the country’s outstanding public servants, among them the head of the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), in a rites held in Malacañan Palace October 15. The awarding coincided with 110th anniversary of the Philippine Civil Service (CSC).

Phivolcs Director Renato U. Solidum received this year’s Lingkod Bayan Award for his meritorious contributions in the field of disaster risk reduction. According to his citation, Solidum was conferred the prestigious government service award “for raising the bar of disaster risk reduction in a country prone to volcano, earthquake, and tsunami disasters; for initiating a mapping program that compiled historical tsunami information shown in the form of hazards maps for use by local governments in tsunami-prone areas.”

In his response, Solidum said, “I am happy and honored to be one of the recipients of the award because this is the highest honor that a public servant could ever receive.”
“This is the result of all the things that we do here in Phivolcs,” he added. Through Solidum’s efforts in disaster risk mitigation, Phivolcs has earned the nod of many international funding agencies to extend its support in upgrading its monitoring facilities among the agency’s 59 seismic stations around the country.

According to Solidum, the tsunami hazard mapping has already covered 100 per cent of the country’s coastline. This historic tsunami information gathering is part of the bigger program in tsunami hazard mapping that includes physical and numerical modeling of the possible tsunami-prone areas in the country, he said.

Also under Solidum’s watch, Phivolcs initiated the formulation of Tsunami Hazard Mapping ahead of the tsunami incident that left 4,812 deaths in Phuket, Thailand in 2004.

Among Phivolcs regular programs include the conduct of series of tsunami drills, apart from the compulsory earthquake drills on schools, on communities that are most likely to be hit by the said natural disaster.

Other recipients of the Lingkod ng Bayan Award were Technical Sgt. Salvador S. Buenaobra Jr. (Philippine Air Force [PAF]-15th Strike Wing, Cavite); Pablo Y. Lasprilla Jr. (PAF-410th Maintenance Wing, Pampanga); Thomas G. Aquino (Department of Trade and Industry, Makati City); Teodosia S. Bernaldez (Loboc Local Government Unit, Bohol); Col. Lope C. Dagoy (Philippine Army-85th Infantry Battalion, Taguig City); Dr. Fe A. Yap (Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, Manila); Regional Public Affairs Office’s Trees for Books/Books for Trees Project (DENR-Cordillera Administrative Region); and Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture (Pampanga Agricultural College, Pampanga).

Spearheading the annual awarding is CSC which is tasked to honor and recognize significant works and initiatives of public officials and employees in the government service. Other awards conferred were the Pagasa and the Dangal ng Bayan Awards.

In a short telephone interview, Solidum said he shares the honor to his fellow public servants in Phivolcs and DOST. He said that this award would not be possible if not for the people who toiled with him in coming up with projects that are very essential to the lives of Filipinos. (Joy M. Lazcano, S&T Media Service)

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