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The Philippines: Advanced Tech for Disaster Resilience

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The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) recently convened a high-profile forum and a three-day exhibit, the 2024 Handa Pilipinas, at the Philippine Congress, marking a significant initiative within its disaster risk reduction campaign.

Image credits: Department of Science and Technology, DOST

The 2024 Handa Pilipinas event showcased DOST agencies’ advanced technologies for disaster prevention, emphasising the critical need for investing in cutting-edge solutions to combat natural hazards and raising awareness among stakeholders, including legislators, about the importance of preparedness.

The event garnered support from Philippine legislators and legislative staff who recognised the need for a comprehensive approach to the application of technologies and innovations. Representative Carlito M. Marquez, the 1st District of Bohol, emphasised the vulnerability of the Philippines to geological and hydrometeorological occurrences.

He highlighted the country’s position on the World Risk Index, where it secured the highest overall disaster risk among 193 countries for two consecutive years. This stark reality prompted the acknowledgement of the need for proactive measures against real-life threats.

Representative Marquez shed light on the crucial roles played by DOST agencies, specifically commending the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-PHIVOLCS) for anticipating volcanic threats, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA) for accurate weather forecasts, and the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) for its research related to nuclear incidents.

Meanwhile, Representative Jocelyn Limkaichong, the 1st District of Negros Oriental and Committee on Climate Change Senior Vice-Chairperson, emphasised the importance of interacting with and learning from experts at DOST-PHIVOLCS and DOST-PAGASA. She highlighted the critical role this interaction plays in saving lives and securing communities from disaster threats.

He was confident that the event would promote awareness of disaster risk reduction, informing and capacitating legislators and legislative staff on the disaster risk reduction technologies generated and supported by the DOST in pursuit of a unified response to the ongoing climate crisis and towards enhancing our country’s resilience.

Limkaichong stressed the valuable relationship of legislators and legislative staff with DOST in ensuring that the laws and policies created were aligned with accelerating the country’s science and technology advancements.

DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr. underscored the collaborative efforts between policymakers and scientists, describing it as a game-changer in building resilience. He highlighted the synergy of science, technology, and innovation with local knowledge and communities to develop technologies and innovations that are not only advanced but also accessible, useful, and relevant to the Filipino people.

In presenting various DOST technologies and innovations for disaster readiness, including Early Warning Systems, GeoRisk Philippines, Hazard Hunter PH, and Plan Smart, Secretary Solidum showcased the agency’s commitment to advancing disaster and climate resilience.

“Resilience is about achieving the Filipino ambition of a comfortable life. It is about vigorously thriving and securing societies, and communities that are safe, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable. These we will help achieve with science, technology, and innovation for the Filipino people,” said the DOST Secretary.

In giving context to the campaign, Secretary Solidum explained that the word “Handa” conveys two perspectives: handa, a Pilipino word expressing the aspirations of becoming a community, locality, region, and a country that is ready and prepared against hazards, and handa as a call to action and to empower citizens in taking an active role in achieving the end state of being resilient and ensuring that communities remain safe.

The 2024 Handa Pilipinas initiative aims to bridge the gap between science, technology, legislation, and community engagement, creating a unified response to the ongoing climate crisis and enhancing the country’s overall resilience. Through collaborative efforts, it seeks to establish a robust framework that leverages technological advancements to safeguard lives, protect livelihoods, and preserve assets amidst the occurrence of disasters.


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