By: Lorenzo A. Moron
With the aim to provide better understanding and raise awareness on various hazards, both hydrometeorological and geological and improve response actions to mitigate their impacts, the Philippine KOICA Fellows Association, Inc. (PhilKOFA) conducted a face-to-face training on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management for the Local Government Unit of Baybay, City, Leyte.
Several topics were presented by various experts from different DRR agencies. Engr. Lorenzo Moron, DOST-PAGASA Assistant Weather Services Chief presented “Understanding Hydrometeorological Hazards and Early Warning Systems”, Mr. Rodrigo Jay Miralles, MGB Region 8 Senior Geologist, discussed “Rain-Induced Landslides and Preparedness Measures in the Province of Leyte”. Ms. Maria Lourdes Dela Calzada, OCD Region 8 Civil Defense Officer III presented the Philippine “DRRM in the New Normal”.
Other topics include the “Gender-Inclusive DRRM” by Ms. Lady Partosa Abad, DILG Region 7 Local Government Operations Officer VI, and “Mental Health and Wellness in Times of Disaster” by Dr. Christine V. Yambao, Associate Professor, Western Mindanao State University.
Meanwhile, the workshop on “Table Top Exercise on Evacuation Process” was facilitated by Mr. Rey M. Gozon, Chief DRRM Division, OCD Region 8. Further, Engr. Sergio Ramos III, Co-founder and President of the PCI Tech Center presented “Disaster Simulation with Virtual Reality”
The said DRRM training was graced by Dr. Renato U. Solidum, Jr., the then DOST Undersecretary for Scientific and Technical Services. Dr. Solidum emphasized the need to strengthen early warning system through the advancement of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and improve local responses to mitigate the impacts of various natural hazards. He further stressed to support of DOST to all initiatives that would improve DRRM services in the country. “The DOST continues to collaborate with various critical partners both local and abroad to utilize science and technology to boost early warning services in the country for the protection of people’s lives, properties and livelihood during and in times of severe and high-impact disasters. Despite the wrath of this seemingly unending health crisis, our efforts should never stop to address the looming issues in the society to strengthen DRRM and utilize science, technology and innovations towards nation-building”, he stressed.
Other key official who participated in the said activity are Mr. Eunsub Kim, KOICA Philippines Country Director, Engr. Ernesto M. Granda, DOST 8 Regional Director, and Dr. Daniel Leslie S. Tan, Vice President for Administration and Finance, Visayas State University, who also gave messages during the opening ceremony.
A total of 218 participants from the 40 Barangays of LGU Baybay City, DRR Coordinators and the Department of Education Baybay City District, disaster managers and decision makers, VSU teachers, students and personnel, joined the said DRRM training.
Overall, the training was very essential to improve one’s technical capability in the field of disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM). The knowledge gained from the training has undoubtedly deepened participants’ understanding and awareness of various hazards, both meteorological and geological as well as their application to improve response actions during and in time of natural calamities. The program likewise provided an opportunity to establish linkage with other institutions and experts in promoting local early warning services particularly in the City of Baybay which was severely affected by landslides due to the occurrence of Tropical Depression Agaton that killed more than 30 individuals and left many people homeless.