Undersecretary Renato U. Solidum Jr. stated that the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has always focused on strengthening the disaster risk reduction and mitigation programmes of its two frontline agencies, namely the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).
“Science and technology have the power to save lives and livelihoods, and we must use them,” says Undersecretary Renato. He added that the country’s long-term goal is to build a society where families can thrive in vibrant, culturally diverse, and resilient communities. Since disasters can be avoided if people know the risks and try to predict what will happen in the future, they can avoid or lessen the damage by building local capacity and making products and systems based on research.
The DOST Undersecretary highlighted that science is useful when it comes to disaster risk reduction and mitigation citing an example of the different projects spearheaded by the agency such:
- Dynaslope Project
- GeoRisk PH
- Hybrid Electric Road Train
- Project SARAI
The Dynaslope Project is a research initiative in the Philippines that uses landslide sensor technology and community involvement to create an early warning system for catastrophic and deep-seated landslides. Landslide sensors installed in strategic locations detect movement even before the hazard becomes visible, and a rain gauge measures the amount of rainfall in the area.
Formerly known as “DEWS-L” and “DRMS,” was started at the University of the Philippines Diliman with funding from the DOST. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology is now using it in 50 locations across the nation.
The following one is GeoRisk Philippines, which provides data for precise and effective hazard and risk assessment. Through this innovation, the public is made aware of the risks and what they can do so that communities may plan and put mitigation measures in place.
Project SARAI, or Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry in the Philippines, has funded DOST. By giving agricultural stakeholders site-specific crop advisories using cutting-edge technology, it seeks to decrease climate risks.
The recommendations for Project SARAI concentrate on integrating local meteorological data and crowd forecast with agricultural management activities, including proactive and disease monitoring, and nitrogen and water management, among others.
On the other hand, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the carbon footprint, and production and operating costs in the transportation industry, DOST is promoting the use of electric vehicles. The hybrid electric road train and hybrid-electric train were constructed by the DOST-Metals Industry Research and Development Center using components that were readily available locally and were conceived and created by Filipino engineers.
These innovations are products of in-depth scientific study. They demonstrate the need for resilience-building across all fields. The community is at the centre of the innovations, and they also share ownership and implementation duties.
Installation and use of warning systems, risk assessment, intelligent land use planning, efficient city design, the construction of lifelines and disaster-proof homes, the prioritisation of greening initiatives and agriculture, and an increase in resilient livelihood activities are all ways to demonstrate prevention and mitigation.
Also, many places in the country have been plagued by problems and restrictions that have made it harder for the people who live there to find jobs and make a living. Investing in different research and development programmes, especially in rural areas, could help solve the current social and economic problems in the long run.
The DOST cited that there are a lot of smart and well-equipped scientists, engineers, and researchers in the Philippines. Most of them are motivated and inspired to find the right solutions to problems and limitations in their own areas.