by Rex Godinez Ortega

 In her foreword to the 2007 publication Building Disaster Resilient Communities, Margareta Wahlström, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, wrote that local communities “are on the frontlines of both the immediate impact of a disaster and the initial, emergency response, which, experience has shown, is crucial for saving the most lives”.

“It is therefore altogether fitting that we focus our energies on improving local communities’ resilience to natural hazards,” Wahlström pointed out.

Following this thesis, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension (OVCRE) is leading efforts to help give members of local communities and MSU-IIT constituents the capacity to quickly recover from, and to reduce the risks posed by natural disasters.

This November, the OVCRE is holding a series of activities and events on campus dubbed, Building Resilient Communities or BRC project.

The BRC is planned and organized by OVCRE in coordination with the Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM), the GIS Resource Center, the National Service Training Program (NSTP) team, and the in-house Philippine Light Detection and Ranging ( Phil LiDAR) Research Teams.

It is composed of around 14 activities that are all designed to promote the level of awareness of IIT stakeholders on climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction management (DRRM).

These activities include lectures/reports on vulnerability assessment for coastal and agricultural resources (November 10); fundamental of flood disaster preparedness training (November 23); and status of flood DRRM in the Philippines (November 24).

The three are based on the outputs of the two Phil LiDAR teams in the campus. The one set for November 23 will have a map turn over.

The Phil LiDAR are expansion projects from the University of the Philippines (UP) Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (DREAM) Program that aims to produce up-to-date, detailed, and high-resolution three-dimensional (3D) flood hazard maps for the critical river basins in the Philippines.

In addition, OVCRE’s Department of Research will conduct a hazard identification and risk management seminar on November 11, while the NSTP team will facilitate a fire prevention education lecture and drill on November 18 and a bomb safety and awareness seminar on November 21.

The symposia on building resilient communities are scheduled on November 15 and 29. These will be handled by the IPDM and the OVCRE’s Department of Extension and Mindanao Resiliency Center.

The BRC project also incorporates the Department of Research’s Annual In-House Review of research and development studies that is scheduled on November 25.

The project will have as penultimate activity a forum labeled, Talkathon that will serve as an ideation or process of forming ideas for extension activities to be undertaken by the Institute regarding the building resilient communities.

The BRC project will open on November 7.

[The exact venues in the campus for the various BRC project activities will be announced by the OVCRE at a later date.]