PDRF endorses USAID-funded MHRVA Project to Laguna partners

The project team from the University of the Philippines Los Baños-School of Environmental Science and Management (UPLB-SESAM) led by Dr. Yusuf A. Sucol, University Researcher, met with the representatives of the  Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), led by Ms. Hannah Escamilla on April 5, 2024 for the official endorsement of the study Multi-hazard Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (MHRVA) of Critical Facility and Lifeline Utility Infrastructures of Selected Industries and Technology Parks in the Province of Laguna.

PDRF endorsed the SESAM project team to various key stakeholders, including Light Industry and Science Park II (LISP II), Calamba City Disaster and Risk Reduction Office (CDRRMO), and Laguna Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Office (PDRRMO).

The study is part of the project Area-Wide Business Continuity Management for Key Industries and Lifeline Utilities led by PDRF and supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). It aims to make the business community resilient by focusing on Disaster Risk Reduction Policy and Practice Sector. 

The MHRVA project aims to understand the impacts of hydrometeorological, geological, and climate change-associated hazards on critical infrastructures and lifeline utilities in the city government of Calamba, Laguna. The result of this study will provide strategic guidelines to beneficiaries and partners from different sectors by improving the synergy of private sector business operations and government sector public service delivery continuity planning.

The meeting with LISP II was attended by its administrator and management officers, Mr. Aldrien Ferlindo Montalban, along with Mr. Harold Estevez and Mr. Alexander Ferrer, respectively. Meanwhile, the endorsement of the CDRRMO of Calamba City was presented to Engr. Noriel Habaña, City DRRM Officer, and staff. The last appointment was with the Laguna PDRRMO, led by Mr. Aldwin Cejo, Provincial DRRM Officer, along with Ms Mairah Leonara Cabantog, and Regine Fadri Flores.

Joining Dr. Sucol in the project endorsement are Dr. Evaristo Nino T. Cando III, project technical consultant and Assistant Professor; Mr. Robert Patrick M. Cabangbang, project coordinator and University Researcher; Nino Carlo Casim, project research associate; and Joshua Reyes, project assistant. Dr. Thaddeus P. Lawas, University Extension Specialist and Ms. Jessa O. Aquino-Cando, EnP., University Researcher are also members of the research team.

Empowering Indigenous Agriculture with Smarter Technologies: Project SARAi and Project STC4iD Training Initiatives in Oriental Mindoro

Agricultural stakeholders gather for a two-day event to enhance farming practices and agricultural sustainability in the province. In a bid to promote smarter agriculture technologies and empower farmers in the indigenous communities of Oriental Mindoro, a training program was conducted on 21-22 March 2024 at Mindoro State University (MinSU) Main Campus, Victoria, Oriental Mindoro. This event was organized by the Project Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry in the Philippines (SARAi), in collaboration with the Project S&T Community-Based for Inclusive Development (STC4iD) on Livelihood Improvement of Mangyan Communities in Mindoro through Science and Technology (S&T) Interventions and Office of the Research and Extension of Mindoro State University (MinSU). 

This training aimed to capacitate the participants on the use of SARAi systems and technologies, particularly: SARAi Knowledge Portal, SPIDTECH, BanaTech, Bantay SARAi, Weather and Climate, Good Management Practices of Banana, and Post-typhoon rehabilitation of banana through lecture presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on activities. The event brought together a diverse group of agricultural stakeholders that included Indigenous People (IP) Educators of Mangyan Community, Pampamayanang Mangyan Ugnayan Inc. (PMUI) staff, Farmer Leaders, Local Government Units (LGUs) of Oriental Mindoro, and faculty and researchers from MinSU. 

Hosted by MinSU, the event commenced with a welcome message from Director Lourdes Icalla of the Research and Extension Division. On the first day of the training, lectures were delivered by Dr. Decibel V. Faustino-Eslava, Project Leader for the SARAi Integration; and SARAi Experts, Dr. Artemio Salazar, Mr. Gideon Aries Burgonio, Asst. Prof. Dara Fabro-Realin, Ms. Dara Miracle Montalbo, Ms. Maria Regina V. Regalado, Ms. Glaisa R. Garcia, Mr. Lance Irvin Elleva and Mr. Edgardo Agoncillo. One of the event’s highlights was the hands-on activities and field demonstration of the BanaTech and SPIDTECH which was facilitated during the second training day. Participants had the opportunity to learn from the SARAi Experts, engage in discussions, and explore the latest agricultural technologies designed to maximize crop production despite impacts brought by our changing climate. 

The training received positive feedback from participants who expressed enthusiasm about integrating the newly acquired knowledge and skills into their regular farming practices. The two-day event concluded with the closing message from Dr. Erwin Icalla, Project Leader of STC4iD. Dr. Icalla conveyed his appreciation towards Project SARAi, PMUI, and Project Educators for a fruitful two-day training, emphasizing further that he looks forward to adopting the systems and technologies of Project SARAi to capacitate more indigenous people in their community. (MEMAmante, RLDAreglado, MRVRegalado, BMLPedrezuela)

Chocolate Hills to be discussed in the next SESAM ExChanges

The School of Environmental Science and Management, University of the Philippines Los Baños (SESAM-UPLB) is pleased to invite you and your colleagues to the SESAM ExChanges 12 of the Continuing Education and Training Division (CETD) titled “Environmental Governance of Natural Monuments: The Case of Chocolate Hills”.

It will be held online via Zoom and streamed live via the SESAM FB page on 11 April 2024, 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM.

𝗥𝗲𝗴𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿 via this link: https://bit.ly/EC12Reg or scan the QR code.

Smashing success: SESAM hosts the 1st Badminton Smash Tournament

In a groundbreaking initiative aimed at fostering camaraderie and promoting healthy work-life balance, the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) Faculty, REPS, Admin Staff, and project-based researchers recently took to the courts in the first-ever SESAM Badminton Smash Tournament. The thrilling competition not only showcased the talents and skills of the staff but also highlighted SESAM’s commitment to employee well-being and team building. 

Held for three separate days (19 and 26 February, 4 March 2024) at University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Copeland Gymnasium, the tournament saw enthusiastic participation from SESAM Staff. In his opening message on the first day of the tournament, SESAM Dean, Dr. Rico C. Ancog emphasized the perseverance of everyone at SESAM. “This competition will bring not only the competitiveness of the players but more importantly is the fun of playing the game”, said Dr. Ancog. 

The competition format is in doubles, with a total of ten pairs of players. Players of all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned athletes, battled it out in a series of intense matches filled with cheers, laughter, and friendly rivalry. The energy was off the charts. Players brought their best to the court, making every rally and every point count. 

The event was organized by the SESAM Health and Wellness Committee headed by Dr. Badi Samaniego. “The success of the first-ever SESAM Badminton Tournament exceeded our expectations”, said Dr. Samaniego. He also thanked everyone for their active participation and looked forward to the next sports tournament to be organized by the committee. 

The tournament concluded with an awarding ceremony on the third day, where winners were recognized for their outstanding skills and sportsmanship. SESAM congratulates the following winners: Mr. Mark Glenn Saguan and Mr. Robert Patrick M. Cabangbang (Champion/1st place); Mr. Joseph M. Vicente and Ms. Alma Ogrimina (2nd place); and Mr. Jason Frank Beloy and Ms. Chindee Aviles (3rd place). 

With plans already underway for other sporting events and activities, SESAM is poised to continue building on the momentum generated from the first-ever SESAM badminton tournament, setting the stage for even greater engagement and bonding among its employees. (RMAreglado)

SESAM-CETD wraps-up 9-day training on environmental management

The School of Environmental Science and Management-Continuing Education and Training Division (SESAM-CETD) of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) completed its first training on environmental management focusing on forestry and ecosystems valuation last February 27-29; March 5-7 and 19-21 at SESAM Library.

In partnership with the Philippines Network of Educators in the Environment (PNEE), this training aims to increase the participants’ knowledge on the different research methodologies related to environmental management; enhance the skills of the participants in conducting environmental management, researches, and the applicability for assessment, planning, and budgeting in their respective department/offices; and strengthen the technical capabilities of the participants in environmental management, especially in environmental compliance and monitoring.

Participants for this training include 12 from the Philippine Reclamation Authority, three from Pasay Harbor City Corporation and one from the Diamond Export Corporation. This training came into fruition when the PRA, through their Environmental Management Department (ENV) has requested for a capacity building on environmental management and monitoring that will cater their needs to fulfill their projects and mandates.

In his opening message, Dr. Rico C. Ancog, Dean of SESAM mentioned that SESAM will be delving more on the science of environmental management and there will be a deeper discussion through the course of the training as this is the mandate of SESAM. “I look at this as a partnership and an opportunity to reach out and respond to a call,” Dr. Ancog added.

Resource persons from SESAM-UPLB, College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR-UPLB), Department of Environment and Natural Resources and private sector were invited to discuss various topics. 

The topics presented during the first week include Flora Assessment and Management: Terrestrial and Mangrove/Coastal Forests (Dr. Jose Alan A. Castillo, ERDB-DENR); Carbon Stock/Emission Assessment for Dredging and Reclamation Projects (Dr. Dixon T. Gevaña, CFNR-UPLB); field demo and workshop on Terrestrial Forest Assessment and Management: Flora and Fauna (Dr. Enrico L. Replan, FORESTEReplan Landscape Consultancy Services); Integrated Planning for Mangrove/Coastal Rehabilitation, Conservation, and Management through the National Greening Program (NGP) (For. Percival M. Cardona, FMB-DENR) and Marine Ecological Assessment and Management (Dr. Badi R. Samaniego, SESAM-UPLB).

The field work on terrestrial flora and fauna was conducted on February 29, 2024 at Brgy. Luquin, Liliw, Laguna. This experiential learning was facilitated by Dr. Replan, as part of the terrestrial forest assessment and management.

On the second week, the topics on water quality assessment and comprehensive assessment strategies for environmental strategies were discussed by Dr. Loucel E. Cui (SESAM-UPLB), while Dr. Juan Miguel R. Guotana (SESAM-UPLB) presented the topic “changing coastlines.” Dr. Alma Lorelei D. Abejero, meanwhile discussed air emission impact and assessment.

Dr. Decibel F. Eslava (SESAM-UPLB), presented “geology and land reclamation.” Dr. Ancog discussed two topics, namely introduction to basic concepts on the economics of natural resources and overview of cost-benefit analysis. Meanwhile, Prof. Eduardo F. Roquiño (SESAM-UPLB), discussed methodologies for economic assessment: change of productivity approach.

Participants visited the Lagadlarin Mangrove Forest and Conservation area in Lobo, Batangas for their field work. For. Alvin S. Gestiada (ERDB-DENR) demonstrated the mangrove assessment of flora and fauna using standard field methods. Dr. Samaniego brought the training participants off shore for the ecological assessment for marine resources. Meanwhile, Dr. Cui showed different instruments and equipment to be used for water quality assessment. 

In the third and last week of the training, Prof. Roquiño discussed the methodologies for economic assessment: revealed preference approach, Travel Cost Method (TCM) and Contingent Valuation Method (CVM). Meanwhile, the exercises on crafting economic valuation studies for environmental management for reclamation was facilitated by Dr. Ancog.

On the last day of training, Dr. Marisa J. Sobremisana (SESAM-UPLB) and Dr. Eduardo C. Calzeta (SESAM-UPLB) lectured on environmental management system and environmental management plan, respectively.

In the closing program, Dr. Cecilia Navasero-Gascon, President of PNEE lauded SESAM again for a successful training and vows to continue the collaboration between the network and the school. Ms. Evangeline L. Alcantara, SESAM researcher and member of the PNEE secretariat also assisted SESAM-CETD during the training.

This training is the first face-to-face activity of SESAM-CETD for 2024, as the division leads the school in the planning, development, and conduct of continuing and training programs that help capacitate institutions in environmental planning and management. Under the leadership of For. Sofia A. Alaira, CETD is composed of SESAM REPS namely, Dr. Thaddeus P. Lawas, Ms. Cherry S. Padilla, Mr. Robert Patrick M. Cabangbang and Ms. Jessa O. Aquino-Cando, EnP. 

SESAM conducts fire drill

In commemoration of Fire Prevention Month, The School of Environmental Science and Management-University of the Philippines Los Baños (SESAM-UPLB), in cooperation with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs (OVCCA)-Security and Safety Office (SSO) conducted a fire drill on March 18, 2024 at SESAM grounds.

On behalf of Dean Rico C. Ancog, Dr. Yusof A. Sucol, SESAM Research Division and Coordinator of the Climate and Disaster Risk Studies Center of UPLB, said during the opening program that by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 115, the Month of March was declared as is being observed as Fire Prevention Month. 

“This month-long campaign includes activities such as fire drills, seminars and information dissemination to educate the public on how to prevent fires and respond effectively in case of emergencies,” Dr. Sucol said. He added that with this initiative, there is a need to underscore that the responsibility for fostering a fire-safe UPLB-SESAM community is a shared responsibility, emphasizing everyone’s commitment to continuously conduct and intensify activities, which aims to raise awareness and preparedness leaving no individuals uninformed.

Lectures on fire safety and protection were also delivered by members of the University Police Force (UPF), led by the Deputy Director, Rene Melgar. “We would like to commend SESAM for this initiative as constant practice makes it perfect, fire drills should be a muscle memory,” said Deputy Director Melgar.

SSO Special Police Assistant Chief Jonathan D. Maliwat, gave an overview of the modules discussed by members of the SSO.He also presented a brief history of major fire incidents that happened not only in UPLB, but also in other UP campuses. For her part, Security Officer II Grizelda Penales-Marza gave some simple safety tips that SESAM faculty and staff can apply while in the office.

Special Policeman Alva Marie H. Tirones meanwhile discussed the campus fire protection system. The list of campus fire hydrants was enumerated by Special Police Lt. Pamela Mai R. Arquiza. Lastly, the guidelines for the conduct of fire drill in the campus was presented by Special Police Lt. Kristine Bernadette T. Matalog.

The lectures were followed by a hands-on demonstration on using the fire extinguisher and the water hose of the UPLB Fire Truck to extinguished and control fire. SESAM Researchers Gabriel Mamaril and Leanne Masungsong-Fernandez volunteered to try the fire extinguisher and the fire truck water hose, respectively. The fire drill and lectures were participated by more than 70 SESAM Faculty, Admin Staff, REPS, and project-based researchers.

There is a need for expansive science to understand people-planet dynamics- Ben Malayang

A mini-reunion of SESAM pillars happened in the school during SESAM ExChanges Series 11 last February 29, 2024. Dr. Ben S. Malayang, former dean of the School of Environmental Science and Management-University of the Philippines Los Baños (SESAM-UPLB), talked about “Environmental Security and Sustainability: Positioning Science as the Basis of Environmental Diplomacy and Negotiations” at the SESAM Board Room with former deans and current faculty and staff of the school. 

Former deans who were present include Dr. Enrique P. Pacardo, Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, Dr. Ma. Victoria O. Espaldon and Dr. Percy E. Sajise. Dr. Dennis Garrity, Chair of the Board of Global Evergreening Alliance was also in attendance.

On behalf of SESAM Dean, Dr. Rico C. Ancog, Dr. Espaldon, also former vice-chancellor for research and extension of UPLB, said in her opening message that SESAM ExChanges is an innovation of the school and it’s an honor to have Dr. Malayang to be invited in this seminar series. 

“We are happy to have our former colleague Dr. Ben Malayang here to share some of his thoughts in positioning science as the basis of environmental diplomacy and negotiations for the PhD EDN. Side-by-side with our curricular offering is the information dissemination from our professors and experts on the field”, Dr. Espaldon said.

Dr. Malayang, who is also a Professor Emeritus of Environmental Policy and Governance of Silliman University in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental discussed the essence of environmental diplomacy in his presentation entitled “Human-ecological security and sustainability”.

A Senior Fellow and Member of the Academic Council of the Development Academy of the Philippines, Dr. Malayang started his presentation with an interesting discussion about Fact, Fiction, and Fantasy. “That high population density and profligate carbon culture create environmental problems, that is a fact. And the fiction is that environments could be solved entirely by technology. That’s fiction. And to say that with technology, we can have all we want from earth, that is fantasy”, said Dr. Malayang.

In connection with Environmental Diplomacy and Negotiations, Dr. Malayang discussed the need for expansive science. He pointed out that there is a need for expansive science– the science to understand the planet, science to understand people and the science to understand people-planet dynamics. 

“Scientist will always look at the immediate cost of the forest of being lost in the country. But the phenomenology of the forest loss in the country is a political ecology issue. The dynamics of creation of power, the distribution of power and the redistribution of power over time has impact on how people behave towards whether eroding or not eroding the environment”, Dr. Malayang stressed.

Dr. Malayang ended his presentation with a quote from Albert Einstein in Einstein and the Atomic Bomb (Netflix): “The fate of mankind hinges entirely on man’s moral development”. And here he raises a question to “to what extent are we pushing for environmental ethics and environmental morals?”.

SESAM ExChanges is an environmental challenges and solutions seminar series organized by the Continuing Education and Training Division of SESAM-UPLB. More than 350 participants joined via Zoom and Facebook Live, as well as the faculty and staff who attended on-site. (TPLawas and RLDAreglado)

1st SESAM ExChanges in 2024 Featured ESG in the Asian Perspective

The School of Environmental Science and Management-University of the Philippines Los Baños (SESAM-UPLB) held the 1st SESAM ExChanges Seminar for 2024 with the topic “Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG): The Asian Perspective” last February 23, 2023 via Zoom and Facebook Live. SESAM ExChanges is an environmental challenges and solutions seminar series organized by the Continuing Education and Training Division (CETD) of SESAM UPLB.

Dr. Chien-Wen Shen, Professor of Business Administration and a Division Director of the Sustainable Development and Social Responsibility Office at the National Central University (NCU), Taiwan tackled ESG with his presentation entitled “Impact Management and SDGs 2030: Operationalizing Sustainability Through Social Return on Investment (SROI)”.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Rico C. Ancog, Dean of SESAM-UPLB said that this webinar is important, focusing on ESG- Environmental Social Governance in relation to sustainability development goals. “For the longest time, we pursue environmental management in the Philippines and it follows a narrative when we talk about the private sector and the way to operate business activities requires trade-off in the social and environmental aspects. We now look at the private sector as an important partner in sustainability aspirations and achievement of sustainability”

Dr. Shen, served as the Director several institutions, namely, the Asian Institute for Impact Measurement and Management, the Yunus Social Business Center, and the Center for Media and Social Impact at NCU. “Impact is a change in an outcome caused by an organization. Impacts can be positive or negative, intended or unintended, and direct or indirect. It can vary on how much they contribute to the SDGs”, he said. 

A graduate of PhD in Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences from Northwestern University, Dr. Shen established the “Yunus Prize: Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition” in 2016 and the “Hope Media Award” in 2018 to advocate social value initiatives in Taiwan.

For. Sofia A. Alaira, Head of CETD, discussed SESAM ExChanges seminar series, which started in 2021. Resource speakers from different institutions around the world were already invited to speak in this webinar series. In this 10th installment, more than 300 attended via Zoom and Facebook Live.