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Enhanced Infrastructure Resilience in the Philippines

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The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in the Philippines has been at the forefront of deploying cutting-edge technology to monitor and assess the impact of earthquakes on infrastructure. In a recent development, sophisticated equipment operated by the DOST for this purpose will remain installed at the San Pedro City Hall and Cabuyao City Hospital until September 2025.

This extension of the study on seismic activity and its effects on buildings was made possible through a renewal of the DOST’s agreement with the local governments of San Pedro and Cabuyao. The announcement, made by DOST 4-A (Calabarzon), underscores the importance of ongoing research and collaboration in ensuring the resilience of infrastructure in earthquake-prone areas.

The technology at the heart of this initiative is known as the Universal Structural Health Evaluation and Recording (USHER) system. Originally installed in 2022 for a one-year study, the USHER system is designed to detect infrastructure damage and provide real-time insights into the structural integrity of buildings. Its presence at key structures like the San Pedro City Hall and Cabuyao City Hospital serves to enhance disaster resilience and promote proactive maintenance strategies.

The USHER System, comprising advanced accelerographs, a web portal, and a mobile application, offers 24/7 structural health monitoring and management tools for building managers and local government officials. It provides remote monitoring of bridges and buildings, aiding in determining necessary repairs or upgrades to enhance resilience against natural disasters.

With its weather and theft-proof design, USHER ensures hassle-free compliance with government regulations and enables users to remotely analyse structural integrity before, during, and after seismic events, fostering proactive disaster preparedness.

Harley Margallo, a spokesperson at DOST 4-A’s Public Affairs Relations and Communication Unit (PARCU), highlighted the significance of the USHER system in bolstering disaster preparedness and response capabilities. Margallo explained that the system offers a comprehensive approach to monitoring and assessing structural health, empowering officials to make informed decisions regarding repairs and upgrades to withstand natural disasters.

To ensure the effective operation of the USHER system, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) staff from both San Pedro and Cabuyao recently underwent orientation seminars. These sessions covered the operation of the USHER Web Portal and the maintenance of USHER units installed in key infrastructure locations. This training represents a crucial step towards building capacity and fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation in disaster management.

The USHER system comprises advanced accelerographs, a web portal, and a mobile application, enabling remote monitoring of structures before, during, and after earthquakes. Its versatility allows it to be installed in various types of buildings and structures, including bridges, facilitating comprehensive monitoring and analysis by developers and structural engineers.

Furthermore, the USHER system aids in compliance with national building codes and regulations set by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). By providing data that aligns with the National Structural Code of the Philippines (NSCP) and DPWH’s rules and regulations on earthquake recording instruments, the USHER system ensures that the infrastructure meets safety standards and regulations.

Looking ahead, the DOST remains committed to leveraging innovative technology like the USHER system to enhance disaster resilience and promote sustainable development. Through ongoing research, collaboration with local governments, and investment in cutting-edge infrastructure monitoring tools, the Philippines aims to build more resilient communities capable of withstanding the challenges posed by natural disasters like earthquakes.


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