Attended by officials from the Government and the University of the Philippines (UP) System as well as partners from within and outside UP, the construction of the University Resilience Institute (UPRI) building officially commenced on the 25th of September, 2019 in a ground breaking ceremony. Expected to rise at the lot which used to be occupied by the Villadolid Hall, the new home for the UPRI will be the tallest building in the UP Diliman Campus. It will house the existing UPRI staff and is expected to be the central hub for UPRI fellows from across all UP campuses.
“We can't do resilience alone. If we put together our efforts, collaborate, we can do more. That's what UPRI is all about. It is all about us. We cannot address our disaster problems if we don't work together.” - Mahar Lagmay, Executive Director for the University of the Philippines Resilience Institute
The construction of the UPRI building marks a significant milestone in the Resilience Institute's journey. Currently housed at the National Institute of Geological Sciences, the space a new building would provide shall allow the UPRI to expand operations by the sheer fact that the additional space would be able to accommodate more man power and equipment. The expansion in terms of space is also expected to ease the integration of various disciplines and fields of studies into the pursuit of resilience building. The new UPRI building is envisioned to serve as a central space where people involved in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction (CCA-DRR) can convene. It will be a hub for CCA-DRR collaborators, where people can work together to address problems.
The 10 storey high UPRI building is expected to be fully constructed by 2021.
True to its commitment to approach resilience building in a trans-disciplinary manner, the University of the Philippines Resilience Institute explores how indigenous or traditional knowledge can be integrated to disaster and risk management.
Veering away from the usual short lecture format, participants of the 3rd UPRI-NOAH TALK engaged in a lecture-workshop. Guided by Dr. Christine Mortimer, an academician from the University of Lancaster, participants of the 3rd UPRI-NOAH TALK spent an afternoon co-creating disaster maps preferably based on events they have previously experienced. Particular to the workshop conducted by Dr. Mortimer was asking workshop participants to place themselves and a previously agreed upon artefact in the disaster experience map.
The method which was explored in the 3rd installment of the lecture series was based on the Dr. Mortimer’s lecture about how to engage multiple stakeholders in projects that require expert input, which she delivered prior to the activity.
A monthly event, the 4th installment of the UP RI-NOAH TALK will be held on October 28, 2019 and will bear a theme related to the celebration of the World Space Week.
The Taysan at Kalikasan; Tara Tayseño, Makinig at Makiaalam Ukol sa Kalikasan Para sa Kapakanan ng Bayan, an environmental forum which was attended by more than a thousand Tayseños, was held in the Municipality of Taysan on August 17, 2019 at the Taysan Municipal Gymnasium.
The event was held with the aim of raising awareness about environmental concerns and activities in the municipality as well as to serve as a venue for hearing concerns and suggestions from residents regarding the state environment and environmental protection in Taysan.
Various representatives from different stakeholders discussed issues and point of views about the state of the environment in the municipality. Father Ephraim Cabrera, the parish priest of the Nuestra Señora dela Merced parish in Taysan, gave an opening message. His message was followed by introductory remarks from Mayor Grande Gutierrez and Vice Mayor Marianito Perez who both expressed gratitude towards Tayseños for attending the environmental forum. Father Dakila Ramos, AMEN Representative, also showed audio visual presentations about tourism areas in Batangas followed by pictures of how much the nature in Batangas and the Philippines in general have been destroyed by humans.
After the initial discussion about the state of the environment in the locality, the University of the Philippines Resilience Institute (UP RI) discussed the physical environment in the municipality based on its existing land use plan through the presentation of different thematic maps of Taysan. A geologist from the Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (AGHAM), Jethro B. Capino, also lectured about the organization’s geological assessment of the local government unit.
An open forum was also conducted after the presentation of the speakers. Various concerns regarding the next steps the LGU of Taysan will be taking after the environmental forum, as well as the strategies and policies that the municipality will be doing in order to minimize the negative effects of quarrying in their area, were raised by Tayseños. Solutions to the quarrying problems that were discussed include the strict monitoring of the existing quarrying operations in the municipality and prohibiting new companies to operate and invest on quarrying in Taysan.
By the end of the forum, the Tayseños parted ways equipped with new learnings, knowledge, and a higher sense of responsibility on how to take care of their environment for the benefit of the community living in the municipality at present and also for the future generation Tayseños.
On August 28-30, 2019, representatives from the City Government of Balanga, Bataan and a team from the University of the Philippines Resilience Institute Planning Team gathered at the Crown Royale Hotel, Balanga City in an effort to build a more climate change and disaster resilient city.
The event, an initial step for Balanga, was meant to assist the city in formulating their Local Climate Change Action Plan. According to UP RI Executive Director Alfredo Mahar Francisco Lagmay, who delivered a lecture on the third day of the event, this initial step, which acts as a gathering of minds and inputs, is crucial in understanding the unique conditions present in the city. This step, which highlights proper understanding of the problems pertaining to climate change and disasters, is an essential part in creating effective solutions for Balanga.
In the course of the workshop, participants learned about different types of development plans, stakeholder analysis and mapping, impact chain diagrams and development of exposure database among others. All of these concepts and skills are crucial when creating plans and actions that would propel Balanga towards climate and disaster resilience.
By the end of the 3 day event, the UP RI and Balanga City parted ways equipped with new skills and experiences as well as with the knowledge that through partnerships, a more resilient City of Balanga can be developed.
Last July 30, 2019, the University of the Philippines (UP RI) held the first UP RI – NOAH TALK (Think, Act, Learn and be Knowledgeable) on Resilience. First among the planned series of lectures, the compact format TALK held last July bore the theme of “Kahandaan sa Sakuna at Peligro Para sa Tunay na Pagbabago” and featured Dr. Emmanuel Luna and Professor Genaro Cuaresma, both UP RI Directors, as well as UP RI and UP NOAH Executive Director Dr. Alfredo Mahar Francisco Lagmay. Held at the College of Science Auditorium, the first UP RI-NOAH TALK was attended by representatives from across various sectors.
As a follow up to this and in celebration of the Buwan ng Wika, the UP RI along with UP NOAH held its second TALK lecture series in the afternoon of August 23, 2019 at the National Institute of Geological Sciences AVR. It bore the theme of “Wikang Katutubo: Tungo sa Isang Bansang Filipino” and featured Dr. Aldrin P. Lee, an associate professor from the College of Science and Philosophy, and Dr. Soledad Natalia Dalisay, Chair of the Department of Anthropology at UP Diliman. The each discussed “Understanding disaster terms using linguistic metaphors in selected Philippine languages” and Indigenous Languages and Risk Communication” respectively.
The UP RI-NOAH TALK lecture series seeks to contribute to the improvement of the overall capacity of Filipinos towards CCA-DRR and disaster resilience through forging partnerships across various disciplines and through knowledge sharing. It is an ongoing project and will be held once or twice every month featuring relevant and timely topics related to CCA-DRR. The third in the series of lectures will be held on September 25, 2019 and will feature a theme that will adhere to the transdisciplinary approach of UP RI.
Last month, the University of the Philippines Resilience Institute (UP RI) participated in the UR Field Lab: Chiang Mai Urban Flooding event hosted by the Understanding Risk (UR) group. The month long event took place in the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute in Chiang Mai and was held as a meeting of minds from various disciplines with the aim of integrating a diverse array of knowledge to address challenges brought about by climate change, particularly, urban flooding. This coincides with UP RI’s mission to promote disaster resilience in local communities through a transdisciplinary approach.
Adopting an un-conference format, participants were encouraged to join the working groups that they were most interested in, instead of following a set schedule of activities. This format made it easier for people to meet and collaborate with experts from different backgrounds. At the end of every week, each working group were encouraged to present and output which would then be exhibited, in its final form, in the science and art exhibit scheduled on the fourth week of the un-conference.
UP RI was there to learn from and to contribute to the UR global community as well as to present our current efforts pertaining to building disaster resilience in the Philippines. The team worked with the Risk Communication and User-Centered Design working groups to find out new ways to improve risk communication in the Philippines through mapping, technology and art.
In particular, representatives from the UP RI worked on mapping the hydro meteorological information flow in a sample area in Chiang Mai and on improving the Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Insurance Facility (SEADRIF) website. Both of these projects had aspects which may be replicated in the Philippines in various ways.
Aside from being a venue for people from seemingly distant disciplines to work one goal together, the UR Field Lab: Chiang Mai Urban Flooding event equipped the UP RI representatives with fresh approaches and perspectives on how a transdisciplinary approach can be realized.