DOST releases P3.2M to Kalinga college for landslide research
Tabuk City, Kalinga (21 February) -- A community-based approach to disaster mitigation was given a boost when the Philippine Council of Industry and Energy Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCIERD-DOST) released P3.2 million to Kalinga-Apayao State College (KASC) here for landslide research.
The project called "Development of a Non-Expert Tool for Site Specific Evaluation of Rain-Induced Landslide Susceptibility," aims to enable communities, as well as any individual or group interested in landslide prevention, to assess the landsliding susceptibility of their areas using simple procedures and on-site tests that they themselves can perform.
"An informed and enabled community could be the most cost-effective measure we can pursue for minimizing the loss of lives and properties due to landslides," said DOST Balik Scientist Awardee Dr. Daniel C. Peckley Jr., who proposed the project. He added that the project's main study areas are Kalinga and other provinces in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), as these areas are prone to rain-induced landslides.
The project also seeks to create a network of agencies and institution concerned with landslide disaster mitigation. Dr. Peckley explains that through this network, communities and local government units (LGUs) can gain access to expert advice on and assistance in implementing cost-effective mitigation solutions against landslide.
Two agencies that have committed to the project thus far are LGU Tabuk and the Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOCS). The participation of other institutions, government agencies and LGUs in this worthwhile endeavor are currently being sought.
For its part, KASC looks forward to using the inspection and test equipment acquired through the project not only for this particular research, but also for planning, designing and implementing infrastructure projects in the province.
Dr. Eduardo T. Bagtang, president of KASC, envisions that with these equipment, together with KASC's research and extension activities in microhydropower development and GIS mapping, the college would eventually be able to offer specialized civil engineering programs in infrastructure engineering and hydropower engineering.
"We need to train and equip our youth so that they would become the engineers who will plan and design the infrastructures that Kalinga needs in order to develop its vast natural resources and meet the challenges of the 21st century," he told KASC's faculty, research and administrative staff in a meeting held on February 16. " Let us make the most of this opportunity and grant provided by DOST," he said.
Dr. Bagtang also expressed hope that LGUs in Kalinga and neighboring provinces would likewise be able to take advantage of these inspection tools and equipment.
Separately, DOST Secretary Estrella F. Alabastro recommended that LGUs, government agencies, people's organizations and non-government organizations (NGOs) cooperating in this project receive rain gauges that be incorporated in community-based early-warning and disaster-mitigation programs. She specifically instructed KASC to fabricate twenty (20) rain gauges for this purpose.
In a similar research, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo directed DOST to lead a Task Group on Atmospheric Activities to transform the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Administration (PAG-ASA) into a world class atmospheric and metrological facility.
For this purpose, a Filipino Scientist Program on Atmospheric Sciences will be immediately incorporated into the DOST Research and Development Program to attract the best Filipino minds, both in the Philippines and abroad, to develop the Filipino capability for weather sciences.
The Grant-In-Aid (GIA) of P3,245,435.00 for the project was released by PCIED-DOST, through Undersecretary Graciano P. Yumul Jr., on February 11, 2009.
The DOST-Balik Scientist program is a brain gain thrust developed to encourage top scientists who are Filipino citizens or of Filipino descent based in foreign countries to return and work for a specified period in the Philippines and share or diffuse knowledge.
The program's priority areas include alternative fuel, biotechnology, environment, pharmaceuticals, information and communication technology. Asst. Secretary Ma. Lourdes P. Orijola is the director of the program. (PIA-Kalinga) [top]