Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management News

Compilation of latest research news on climate change adaptation/management and disaster risk management

UPRI speaks at the Public Service Continuity Planning Workshop for CHED

Cesca Llanes of UPRI was one of the speakers at the Public Service Continuity Planning Workshop for CHED that was held from Nov 13-14 at the Institute for Small Scale Industries (ISSI). The workshop aimed to equip state universities and colleges (SUCs) with tools that would help them mitigate risks from man-made and natural hazards in their respective jurisdictions. 


Ms. Llanes discussing the country's risk profile

Attended by representatives from each region, Ms. Llanes discussed the Philippines’ risk profile, while citing examples of different hazards across the country that were successfully mitigated. She explained basic disaster risk reduction (DRR) terms such as hazard, risk, and vulnerability. Knowing the definition and usage of these terms are integral to avoiding disasters. Two important aspects of DRR, warning and response, were also discussed. Warning based on weather forecasts and near-real time information must be clearly communicated by the government to the local government and their respective communities. Response, on the other hand, requires long-term education and engagement of the community, hence the important role SUCs play in participatory risk assessment.

Ms. Llanes then presented the Disaster Timeline, explaining that more comprehensive policies on DRR strengthens the nation’s resilience to hazards. Fewer events that failed in disaster prevention occurred over time as government initiatives such as RA 10121, Project NOAH, and PDRA-NDRRMC were put in place. Nevertheless, there is plenty of room for improvement. Aside from a strong DRR framework, hazard maps must also be scenario-based, to consider not just historical data, but future events as well. Ms. Llanes gave examples of different numerical simulations for floods, storm surges, and landslides. 


Participants during the event included regional representatives

The talk ended with Ms. Llanes enumerating key messages pertaining to  DRR. Hazard maps must be produced using high-resolution data because planning must be done using a bottom-up approach. Barangays should initiate disaster mitigation efforts, with support from the national government. Local capacity and local resources should be used in disaster mitigation plans, because the best people who can help vulnerable Filipinos are themselves. 

Open data policy is necessary so scientists can better collaborate to produce the best products. Data using the best technology must be accessible to the public, using available tools to disseminate information. Communicating hazards, therefore, is a collaborative effort between scientists, social scientists, writers, artists, and experts in other fields. Everybody must participate in the disaster effort, including the private sector, civil society organizations, and even religious groups because all of them are affected by the impacts of hazards.


With the participants and organizers of the Public Service Continuity Planning Workshop

After the talk, some of the questions raised by the participants were about the resource allocation of the national government to SUCs. If CHED is pushing for SUCs to play a bigger role in DRR and community resilience, then additional funding must be allotted for evacuation plans and mitigation efforts to be continuous. As of this writing, negotiations between CHED and the academe are currently ongoing. Another question raised was the availability of the book Sakunang Darating, Saklolo’y Tayo Rin: Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Handbook for Academic Institutions. ISSI coordinated with UP Press for conference participants who are interested in availing the DRRM manual for their respective universities.

DOST-ASTI holds Satellite Imagery Acqusition training with NovaSAR-1

Last December 2, 2019, researchers from the UP Resilience Institute, Audrei Anne Ybañez, Angelu Bermas, and Jannine Vasquez participated in the NovaSAR-1 Image Collection and Planning System (ICPS) User Training for the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) with Automatic Identification System (AIS) Project. The training was held at the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) in Diliman, Quezon City. The SAR with AIS for Innovative Terrestrial Monitoring and Maritime Surveillance is implemented by DOST-ASTI in response to the needs of government agencies, stakeholders and research institutes.


UP RI researchers and other participants train in using the PEDRO tasking portal for data acquisition.

The establishment of the Philippine Earth Data Resource Observation Center (PEDRO) Center was discussed by Julius M. Judan. The center serves as a hub and a ground receiving station with access to RADAR and optical satellite images from numerous satellites circling the earth. Some of these satellites include the Philippines’ DIWATA-1, DIWATA-2, and MAYA-1. The PEDRO Center also has access to satellites operated by other countries such as KOMPSAT-1, PlanetScope, and WorldView-1.On August 2019, the PEDRO Center also gained access to the NovaSAR-1, a satellite launched in 2018. The satellite NovaSAR-1 enables acquisition of earth observation data through cloud cover in order to detect land cover, vegetation, aquatic systems and marine vessels.


Julius M. Judan introduces the PEDRO Center during the ICPS User Training. 

Another discussion centered on the DATOS Help Desk conducted by Jo Brianne Briones. DATOS project under DOST-ASTI  focuses on applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing (RS), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Science in providing useful maps related to disaster risk reduction. 


Jo Brianne Briones discusses applications of GIS, RS, AI, and Data Science used by the DATOS Help Desk.

To fulfill its goals of providing free access to satellite images, the PEDRO Center established a tasking portal for requesting users. On the third discussion, Joshua Frankie B. Rayo explained how the tasking portal works. The tasking portal shows the time of image capture on their areas of interest which then allows government agencies, stakeholders, state universities, and research institutes to submit requests for these images. The training was attended by over 20 participants from different institutions such as the Office of Civil Defense, National Security Council, Department of Budget and Management, and National Institute of Geological Sciences.


Joshua Frankie B. Rayo  explains how to use the PEDRO tasking portal in submitting requests for data.


UPRI supports declaration of a disaster and climate emergency

House Resolution 535


Manila, Philippines - The University of the Philippines Resilience Institute (UPRI) supports the house resolution declaring a “disaster and climate emergency” in the Philippines. House Resolution 535 was filed by Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda at the House of Representatives last November 18.

According to UPRI and NOAH Center Executive Director Mahar Lagmay, “the declaration of climate emergency is for all to take seriously. This resolution is a reiteration of what we already know, that we need to do climate action and we need to do it now, no “but’s” and no “if’s.”

The resolution states that “the Philippines has been suffering from a disaster and climate emergency which now compels a whole-of-government and whole-of-society policy response to anticipate, halt, reduce, reverse, address and adapt to its impacts, consequences and causes”.

 Currently, Typhoon Kammuri, locally named “Tisoy” has already made landfall in Gubat, Sorsogon, with the Bicol and Samar regions already experiencing torrential rains and strong winds.

The UPRI supports the resolution to name 2020 as the year of “disaster and climate emergency awareness” to increase consciousness among Filipinos, who even at this time are bracing themselves for Typhoon Tisoy.

“Every year, the Philippines is constantly identified as among the top countries most impacted by the climate crisis,” said Yeb Saño, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, “so it’s high time we have this formal acknowledgement by the government that we are indeed in an emergency situation.”

Saño emphasized that a climate emergency declaration should push government to prioritise climate urgency in the national and local levels and hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their role in driving climate change impacts on Filipinos.

Additionally, Salceda stressed the role of science and the development and use of climate technologies to address the climate emergency.

“The best available science should inform and guide climate change adaptation efforts, including the integration, adaptation, and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessment to the people” said Salceda.

The UP Resilience Institute continues to serve as a knowledge hub of accessible, accurate, reliable and relevant scientific disaster data vital to the nation’s efforts in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Its mission is to empower local communities through multidisciplinary actions towards resilience.

Lagmay added that while the Philippines has been acting to address climate change impacts and raising awareness, “there are urgent actions we should have done yesterday. We cannot just sit in a pot and wait for it to boil.”

Global Climate Strike Philippines: Pailaw Para sa Kalikasan, Parada ng mga Parol

Mr. Jude Agapito delivered UPRI's solidarity message
Last 29 November 2019 the UP Resilience Institute took part in the Global Climate Strike: Pailaw para sa Kalikasan, Parada ng mga Parol in Manila. The strike was mobilized to raise awareness about the current state of the climate crisis. It was also a call for action from the government and policy-makers in the Philippines and around the world. A lantern parade and a contest were also held along with the strike. Students/youth from different schools and organization were invited to participate to display their lanterns made from recycled materials. Participants also made placards and poster with statements of advocacies.
The march showcasing all the parol and placards started at the Plaza Miranda
The event started at the Plaza Miranda. The first batch of solidarity messages were delivered from different organizations and then the people marched to Liwasang Bonifacio, showing off the lanterns and placards to the crowd. Another batch of solidarity messages were delivered at the Liwasang Bonifacio while the lanterns and placards were displayed in front of the monument
The march ended at the Liwasang Bonifacio where the second batch of solidarity messages were delivered.
Jude Agapito of UP Resilience Institute delivered UPRI’s solidarity message at the strike. He expressed the support of the UPRI in the on-going movement to raise awareness on Climate Change. He said that the UPRI is honored to be part of this movement and is happy to know that the youth have become more involved in climate action. He also challenged the youth to continue the pursuit and to further deepen the fight for climate action as well as to further expand the movement in order to reach more youth around the country and around the world.

UPRI Motivates Students to Pursue a Career in the STEM Field


Last October 11, Cesca Llanes of UPRI talked about her experiences as a geologist to 6th grade students of Miriam College Middle School during their Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) Week celebration. With the theme, "E= MC2: Empowering the MC Community through STEAM Education", Ms. Llanes discussed the different STEAM skills required in her field and how these skills were developed to prepare her in starting a career as a geologist. She also emphasized how the knowledge and skills she has acquired so far could be used in the service of others.

The talk began by Ms. Llanes asking the students to enumerate the STEAM skills that they think are necessary to pursue a career in the sciences. Analyzing data and visualizing maps, identifying geologic structures, and looking for patterns in rock bodies require creativity and imagination. Fieldwork is done with other geologists, scientists, and experts in other fields to better come up with solutions to scientific problems. Analyzed data must then be presented to the scientific community, the local community, and other affected stakeholders. Good communication skills in multiple mediums are therefore necessary to better explain scientific concepts and solutions to the people.

To enhance these skills, Ms. Llanes explained that it was necessary for the students to hone their reading and listening skills. It also takes a lot of discipline and focus to be an expert in their chosen field. Nevertheless, students must never be afraid to make mistakes, as this is integral for them to learn and fail better. Lastly, it is important to have fun and to enjoy the process of accumulating knowledge and later applying them to be of service to others.

Ms. Llanes has gone on to share what she has learned so far in geology, landslides, and earth science processes to other scientists and engineers. She has presented results of numerical simulations, field work, analysis of landslide events to local and international workshops and conferences. Solutions and mitigation measures have also been shared with the local government and the affected communities. The talk ended by reminding the students that scientists must always share what they know to everyone, especially the grassroots communities and the next batch of students who will carry on the scientific work that must be accomplished.

UPRI Supports the UPLB in the 2nd International Conference on Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management (INREM)

The UP Resilience Institute team joins the Interdisciplinary Studies Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Environment Management of the University of the Philippines Los Baños in their second international conference held on 20-21 November 2019 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Pasay City.

With the theme, “Strengthening local governance for sustainable integrated natural resources and environment management”, the conference was participated by representatives from the Local Government Units, Academicians from various State Universities, officials from the DENR, International and Local Environment sector Consultants, Peoples’ Organizations, and concerned institutions and agencies.


Participants of the 2nd International Conference on INREM during plenary session. Photo source: INREM 2019 photo gallery.

The conference served as an avenue for different groups and academic institutions to share and present the results of different environmental papers or studies through plenary and parallel sessions. In line with the objective of the conference to facilitate the sharing of ideas and experiences on local governance of natural resources and environmental management among stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific Region, Dr. Mahar Lagmay shared his advocacy on the use and generation of Probabilistic Hazard Maps to be used in CCA-DRR activities and efforts. In addition to this, he emphasized the advantages of open data system for DRR studies and developments and the importance of the same in the mainstreaming of INREM in local governance.


Dr. Lagmay (left) of UP and Dr. Sven Günter (right) of Thünen-Institute answer questions during the open forum. Photo source: INREM 2019 photo gallery

One hundred and eighteen (118) papers/studies were presented in the plenary, parallel, and poster sessions. Out of total number of papers, 94 were delivered during the 12 parallel sessions, with four main themes namely: Small islands, Landscapes and seascapes, Lakes and river basins, and Rural-urban areas and their interrelationships. Three special sessions were done for the topics involving the LaForet (Landscape Forestry in the Tropics) project, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and undergraduate researches.

Included in the closing ceremony of the conference were the awarding of the four LGU champions in INREM, the awarding of the best undergraduate INREM research, and the giving of plaques of recognition to event co-organizers.


During the awarding of INREM LGU Champions                    


     During the awarding of best undergraduate INREM research


    Photo of the plaque of recognition to UP RI