The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) turned over landslide and storm surge hazard maps for Vigan City, Ilocos Norte, La union, and Pangasinan, including copies of the Reference for Emergency and Disaster or RED Book. The turnover is part of DOST’s advocacy to promote disaster preparedness by disseminating information down to the barangay level and communities-at-risk.

Secretary Mario G. Montejo held the turnover on September  1, 2015 during the Forum on Climate Change, Disaster Management and MSMEs Development, an event of the annual celebration of the DOST Region I Science  and Technology Fair for the Northern Luzon Cluster held at the Vigan Convention Center in Vigan City.

“Our flagship program on disaster management, the Project NOAH, provides us with a 6-hour lead time to prepare before the flood comes using sophisticated software to create a digital platform where weather and hazard information like flood, landslide and storm surge maps are uploaded for easy access by our local government executives and disaster risk reduction officers,” Sec. Montejo said.

Montejo further said that these hazard information will help LGUs create their own disaster management plans that are responsive to people’s needs and in making their communities safe from floods, storm surge and other natural hazards.
The Ilocos region, composed of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La union and Pangasinan provinces, is highly vulnerable to natural hazards brought about by violent typhoons, flooding and storm surge as it faces the South China Sea in the eastern northern Luzon corridor.

About 60 percent of Vigan’s land area is used for agriculture, thus the risk to crops is very high that could affect even the entire region’s economic performance. Around 32 percent of the land is for residential area, nearly three percent is used for commercial and industrial purposes, and around one percent is for institutional purposes. There are also forest reserves and fishponds in Vigan.

“This is the opportune time for the DOST to visit the Ilocos Region as we hold the Northern Luzon Cluster Science and Technology Fair where we are showcasing the latest developments and technologies developed by our local scientists and engineers in the fields of disaster management, climate change adaptation, agricultural productivity, manufacturing, food processing and enterprise development,” said DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo.

During the forum, local government executives discussed pressing issues affecting the region in the areas of disaster mitigation and climate change adaptation. They also touched on entrepreneurship as the economic vehicle for the development of the region.

Governor Ryan Luis V. Singson of Ilocos Sur was represented by the Sanggunian Panlalawigan Member Edgar I. Yabes who joined in the discussion on disaster preparedness and entrepreneurship. The region is one of the vital locations in Northern Luzon with its increasing number of micro, small and medium enterprises engaged in various businesses like food processing and handicrafts.

“We welcome this initiative by the DOST to bring to us the different technologies and innovations that will help us mitigate disasters and support our efforts to promote SMEs,” said Yabes.

Others present during the forum are DOST Assistant Secretary Urduja A. Tejada;  Dr. Armando Q. Ganal, DOST-I regiona director; Oscar G. Rimando, DOST-I assistant regional director for finance and administrative service; Dr. Paulina P. Nebrida, ARD for technical operations; and Ramon S. Sumabat, provincial S&T director for DOST-Ilocos Sur. Also in attendance were community leaders and disaster risk reduction and management officers as well as members of the media.   (S&T Media Service)

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