Participants to the 2015 International Conference on Building Resilience and Developing Sustainability pose for posterity at the Baguio Convention Center. With them are University of the Philippines Baguio Chancellor Raymundo D. Rovillos, CSC Director Alejandro Ciencia Jr., World Food Programme Philippines Representative and Country Director Praveen Agrawal and United Nations WFP Philippines Programme Officer and Coordinator Onuora Daniels.

One purpose of disaster mapping is to delineate hazard-prone areas in a locality. These danger zones are borne by natural calamities such as landslides, flooding or tidal waves and storm surges along coastal areas.

As one of the  key objectives in the determination of danger zones, disaster mapping would then be the basis for the authorities  to  call for  a relocation  of residents living within  and along these disaster prone  areas in  order  to  avoid further  loss of lives and properties arising from natural calamities.

2015 International Conference on Building Resiliency and Developing Sustainability

UP President Alfredo E. Pascual says while the university’s Leyte campus suffered losses during typhoon Yolanda, the university also took an active role in the immediate aftermath of the disaster sending medical and forensic teams to assist survivors and identify casualties.

But this concept is not cast in stone, according to the participants in the stakeholders’ forum last January 16, held as part  of the  2015 International Conference on Building Resiliency and Developing Sustainability (ICBRDS) at the University  of the Philippines Baguio. The  participants  represented  a broad spectrum of expertise, interests and persuasions – from  scientists, engineers, anthropologists, psychologists, communicators, sociologists, to  social workers  including government  and non- government  workers  and  emergency volunteers.

They  were clustered  into  several groups tackling  issues pertaining  to disaster risk reduction and management.  In the matter of disaster mapping, some of the participants posed the question as to whether “relocation” as a strategy to mitigate casualties and property  loss during natural  disasters could be a universal response.

“What  about  the  Badjaos?” They asked, referring to the Philippine  sea gypsies of Sulu whose lives are historically and culturally connected to the sea. The group that tackled the issue of disaster mitigating  measures argues that  “imminent  threat”  alone is not enough for authorities  to unilaterally decide to  relocate  people from  their original places of settlement. Because “life is connected to the homeland,”  there is also a psycho-social component to disaster mitigation and this needs to be addressed, the group that tackled disaster psychology added. They said this does not diminish the importance  of “imminent threat” and the reason why the government  declares “no-build zones.”

However,  the call is likewise for government  to realize that “relocation” is not the ultimate solution to every problem arising from a disaster event, they added. The participants revealed, for instance, that  budgetary allocation  for disaster preparedness is low in terms of local government priorities.

Data  information   among  agencies tasked  in  disaster preparedness  are also conflicting,  “for instance,  that  of the Department of Science and  Technology  (DOST)  and  the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) data,” they added.

And if there are pertinent  data such as geo-hazard maps, the agencies do not download to the community the necessary skills to interpret  these, they said.  Add to this is that  there  are no standard modules for trainings on disaster preparedness.

These problems emerge as disaster management is also seen as a political  issue, according  to  Dr.  Dorothea  Hilhorst   of Wageningen University  in The Netherlands,  plenary  speaker during the second day of the conference. The “politics of disaster,” as she calls it, is also caught up in squabbling among decision- makers as to risk classification and priority  response.

This  situation  was again deliberated  upon  during  the stakeholders’ forum in the instance of the Badjaos. They said that while the sea-dwelling people are certainly  at immediate  risk during a storm surge or a tsunami, relocating them would also impact strongly on their way of life.

The Badjaos’ preference and insistence to keep their homes inthe sea could be given due course because technology could also be harnessed for the people’s protection. The problem is that the government is hesitant to invest in technology because of the cost, said the participants.

2015 International Conference on Building Resiliency and Developing Sustainability

Group facilitators present their workshop outputs during the stakeholder’s forum of the 2015 International Conference on Building Resilience and Developing Sustainability.

Collaboration between “experts and non-experts” was stressed during the two-day conference.  The “non-experts” view being local or indigenous knowledge, the conference gave prominence to the importance  of the non-experts knowledge in the disaster risk reduction.

The conference was initiated  by the UP  Baguio Cordillera Studies Center (CSC) in cooperation with the Japan Foundation, the World Food Programme and the city government of Baguio.

The CSC had been promoting research initiatives “leveraging on trans-disciplinary  and interdisciplinary  systems including indigenous knowledge systems,” UPB Chancellor Raymundo D. Rovillos said in his remarks to conference participants last January 14. (ROLAND RABANG)

The author, Prof. Roland Rabang, is the UP Baguio Director for Public Affairs.

Latest News

  • 1
  • 2
UPBaguio Social
 
 

More on UP Baguio

  • More Announcements
  • More News
  • »TALENT DETERMINATION TEST for 2019

    Click here for the ANNOUNCEMENT

  • »Advisory for CS Students:SAIS Enlistment for Second Semester AY 2018-2019

    Click here for the ADVISORY

  • »4th Batch Schedule of Student Financial Assistance (SFA) and Socialized Tuition (ST) System ONLINE APPLICATIONS, RELEASE OF RESULTS, and OPENING OF APPEALS

    Click here for the SCHEDULE

  • » ANNOUNCEMENT: Admission to M.S. Math Program and Ph.D. Math Program and AVAILABLE DOST-ASTHRDP Scholarship Grants for 2nd Semester of AY 2018 - 19

    Click here for full details

  • » The UP Baguio Ladies Residence Hall is now accepting applications for the SY 2018-2019.

    Click here for the CHECKLIST, APPLICATION FORM and RULES and REGULATIONS

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3