VSU Hosts Visayas Cluster Conference and Data Turnover Ceremony

The PHIL LiDAR 1 Visayas Cluster Conference and Data Turnover Ceremony was conducted in Visayas State University, Baybay campus in Leyte on November 10-11, 2016. The event catered to both external and internal stakeholders of the program by providing a venue to present the significance of the program’s outputs to efforts on disaster preparedness and local government planning, distribute flood hazard maps to local government units within the region and orient local officials on the basic features of the maps and how to access them through the LiPAD website. The business meeting conducted on the second day provided a venue for PHIL LiDAR SUCs/HEIs within the Visayas region to discuss their outputs, set targets on program deliverables and schedules as well as to identify gaps on program implementation and recommend possible solutions. The first day was attended by local government officials, representatives from DOST-PCIEERD, as well as representatives from the NGO sector and Engineering students. PHIL-LiDAR 1 personnel from UP Diliman, Visasyas State University, UP Cebu and University of San Carlos.

On the first day of the event, PHIL-LiDAR 1 VSU Project Leader Engr. Florentino Morales opened the program by noting the importance of discussing the outputs and relevance of the program. He enjoined the students to mingle with the team in order for them to learn more about the technology. VSU President Dr. Edgardo E. Tulin officially welcome everyone in this event. He shared about the Philippine Development Forum conducted in Davao City which will set the direction for the country’s short, medium and long term plans. He related the relevance of the Program with regards to the current administration’s thrusts for disaster risk reduction and management initiatives. PHIL LiDAR 1 Program Leader Dr. Enrico C. Paringit recounted the post-Yolanda work of the Program in the region particularly on efforts to explain the storm surge occurrence and what could be done to mitigate its impacts. The study set the agenda for the government’s rehabilitation plan. He noted that the maps are not used to scare people but to guide them. The tools can also be used by communities to achieve resilient development.

Key officials also presented the role of their offices in DRRM including Mr. Rufino Mengote, Assistant Regional Director of DOST RVIII; Mr. Rey Gozon, Assistant Regional Director, Office of Civil Defense; Ms. Cecile Mae M. Ocado, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office – Tanauan, Leyet; and, Ms. Leah Payud, Program Manager, Oxfam-Tacloban.  In the afternoon. Ms. Ruby Ann Magturo of the PHIL-LiDAR 1 Data Archiving and Distribution component explained the LiDAR Portal for Archiving and Distribution (LiPAD), a system that stores the datasets with features that allow standardized and centralized data distribution to end-users. Mr. Christopher L. Uichanco from the Program’s Flood Modelling Component also gave an overview of the use and benefits of the Flood Hazard Maps which were distributed before concluding the program. Dr. Othello Capuno, VSU’s vice-president for research and extension closed the program on Day 1 by expressing his gratitude for the work of the program as well as for the participation of everyone in the event.

On Day 2, Dr. Enrico Paringit gave a welcome message before starting the meeting. He thanked the organizers for the preparations made and gave updates on the latest area coverage and achievements of the program. He noted that there are additional 5 river basins which makes the number 262 and that there is a need to catch up with the remaining deliverables for the program. He also said that the meeting will would give everyone clear expectations, strategies, open exchange of ideas in order to accomplish the remaining targets of the Program. After this, reports and updates were delivered by the Visayas State University, University of San Carlos and UP Cebu. During the discussions, it was highlighted that the Weather Philippines Foundation, which has rain gauges established all over the country, is willing to share their rain fall data with the Program. It was also noted that one of the common concerns for data gathering is the problem with telecommunications signal in certain areas especially during inclement weather conditions. Dr. Paringit presented the basics of risk assessment using LiDAR data and how this method can be used for provincial planning on climate resilient infrastructures that would enable policy makers identify their priorities in terms of projects. After the meeting, the team headed to the Leyte Geothermal Powerplant as a site visit where participants may have an appreciation of how LiDAR can be used to determine renewable energy sources.