In a bid to strengthen the country’s response to disasters that hit the country on a regular basis, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has urged for greater empowerment for local government units by equipping them with appropriate technology, human resource, and technical and administrative capacity to perform their mandates.
Eric Paringit, executive director of the DOST’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), said government response to natural disasters could be further enhanced if local government officials from provincial down to the barangay level are trained to utilize technologies that can help them prepare, mitigate, and address the effects of natural disasters.
“Building the capacity of LGUs and solidifying the local and national political commitments to institutionalize DRRM are keys to sustaining our resiliency efforts,” he said.
In the PCIEERD policy brief entitled “LiDAR at the Forefront of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in the Philippines: Lessons and Challenges,” Paringit, who was then the project leader of the Phil-LiDAR project, noted the success of the implementation of the Philippine Light Detection and Ranging (PHL-Lidar 1) Project in Cebu which was able to generate flood hazard maps for 21 river basins in Visayas through simulations to come up with calibrated and validated flood model.
The project processed LiDAR, bathymetric, and Synthetic Aperture Radar data of selected rivers in the Central Visayas gathered by the University of the Philippines Diliman in collaboration with the University of San Carlos and University of the Philippines-Cebu. This was then validated with data coming from the field which was the basis for the creation of flood hazard maps.
In Cebu, Phil-LiDAR 1 was able to cover 11 out the 51 LGUs. The provincial government gave counterpart funds of P5 million to complete the data acquisition for all LGUs within the province.
Paringit said that enhancing the capability of the LGUs should be directed to mark the lack of detailed information on technical expertise, management capacity, and funds to implement well-targeted disaster risk reduction measures.
“General trainings, as well as technical trainings, are very much needed both by the provincial/city/municipal disaster risk reduction management officers and other stakeholders. The case of Cebu province demonstrated that it is possible to equip LGUs with the operational tool for DRRM,” he said.
Paringit also pointed out that collaboration with national government agencies on research and development (R&D) projects is important to ensure full utilization of R&D results and upgrade government services and functions.
“LGUs, as well as the private sector, should have an active involvement in the whole duration of research projects through consultative meetings and among others,” he said.