Some of the participants during the NRCP’s Orientation on Natural Hazards

The recurring onslaught of typhoons and other hazards prompted the National Research Council of the Philippines to hold its 3rd In-House Training Program titled, “Orientation on Major Hazards in the Philippines,” on October 28, 2020. Around 60 NRCP personnel participated.

According to Dr. Marieta Sumagaysay, NRCP Executive Director, the said activity aims to raise the NRCP personnel’s awareness and understanding of the different natural hazards and enhance their preparedness. Moreover, it’s an initial activity to achieve the agency’s goal of creating a Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) program in support of the national government’s agenda.

“With our speakers around, we hope to raise awareness on various hazards and to come up with DRRM plan for the agency. This will allow the services of the agency to continue when there are disasters,” said Sumagaysay.

One of the speakers Mr. Jeffrey S. Perez, Supervising SRS of DOST-PHIVOLCS, tackled about “earthquakes, hazards, and preparedness,” focusing on the earthquakes in Metro Manila. He shared the best practices to minimize the damages of earthquakes such as following the right design and construction process and regular self-check for house safety.

Eng. Lorenzo A. Moron, Senior Weather Specialist of DOST-PAG-ASA, discussed about hydro meteorological hazards and early warning system. He mentioned the different weather systems such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, and tropical cyclones affecting the country. He also shared about the major typhoons that struck the country such as Typhoons Pablo, and Yolanda, furthering that the lack of preparedness and awareness intensified the impacts.

“We need to maximize science and technology to detect impending hazards and come up with accurate forecasts and recommendations,” said Moron.

A presentation of some of the typhoons that wreaked havoc to the Philippines.

A multi-awarded environmental activist and convener of the Aksyon Klima Pilipinas Mr. Rodne R. Galicha, discussed the various concepts relevant to DRR using relatable and practical experiences. To drive home his message, he used an emerging and localized term “katumabalikwasan” which means resilience.

“At the end of the day, we need to always prepare if we have the knowledge, wisdom, and experience,” Galicha reminded the participants while likewise encouraging them to learn from their experiences and apply these to disasters and hazards from the micro to the macro level.

“That’s the challenge to NRCP- to have the capacity which boils down to kahandaan, kaalaman, and karanasan. Have the municipality or barangay understand and appreciate the concept of DRRM plan,” said Galicha.

Dr. Geraldo S. Petilla, FAD Chief, gave the concluding remarks, saying that as part of supporting the DDR agenda, NRCP will create a volunteering program in line with its social responsibility and mandate of realizing “science for and with the people.”

Relating to the activity, Renz Prudenciado, an NRCP staff, shared his insight saying, “I’m glad to have attended this online orientation as it reminded of the devastations caused by the Supertyphoon Yolanda and what could have been done to minimize such. Now, I have a better understanding on how hazards affect both the people and the society.”