SESAM PhD student wins Champion Award in recent international symposium

The virtual scientific poster entitled “Cultivating Crops in Lahar Landscapes of Burgos-Eastern, Botolan Zambales in the Philippines: Building Adaptation and Reducing Risks” by Ms. Ma. Charisma T. Malenab, a PhD Environmental Science student, is recognized as the best poster and awarded a PEDRR Champion Award in the category of Field Study during the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR) Cross-Regional Symposium conducted online last 15-16 September 2021.

The winning poster imparts, among others, the adaptation strategies of the communities in Burgos, Botolan in Zambales, particularly in farming on the lahar landscapes. The village is among the barangays covered by volcanic ash and lahar when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991. Despite the poor condition of the soil, the farmers were able to till, grow, and harvest rice. The adaptation strategies include crop rotation, minimal tillage, and fertilizer application. Through experimentations conducted by the farmers in partnership with the Municipal Agriculture Office supported by the Local Government Unit of Botolan, Zambales, local innovative practices were developed to utilize the lahar farmlands into more productive state.

Ms. Malenab is also an Assistant Professor at the Department of Social Development Services, College of Human Ecology, UPLB. aProf. Malenab research work analyses the contribution of these farmers in Burgos, Botolan in managing their ecosystem by adaptation building and risk reduction. As confirmed by several researches, these farmers are important actors in Eco-DRR. 

Her co-authors are Ms. Mabel G. Vallena, Science Research Specialist at the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM); Mr. Renen Szilardo C. De Guzman, Assistant Professor at the College of Economics and Management; Dr. Rico C. Ancog, Dean and Associate Professor in SESAM; Dr. Josefina T. Dizon, Professor at the College of Public Affairs and Development (CPAf); Dr. Merlyne P. Paunlagui, former Professor and Director of the Center for Strategic Planning and Policy Studies (CSPPS) of CPAf; and Dr. Maria Victoria O. Espaldon, Professor at SESAM. 

Virtual posters showcased during the symposium were research projects, policy initiatives, and student work that relate to Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR). The PEDRR Champion Awards (certificates) were given to projects evaluated based on their contribution to upscaling Eco-DRR. The distinction was given by the organizer of the symposium- the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR), which is a global alliance of UN agencies, NGOs, and specialist institutes formally established in 2008. This alliance aims to “pool expertise and advocate for policy change and best practice in ecosystem management for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, based on science and practitioners experiences”. (Cherry Sy-Padilla)