UPLB participates in the 2019 National Water Summit

Natl water summitParticipants from National Government Agencies, Non-Government Agencies, Private Organizations and Academe during the National Water Summit last March 21, 2019 at Novotel Hotel, Cubao, Quezon, City.

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB), under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), spearheaded the National Water Summit Towards Water Security at Novotel Hotel, Cubao, Quezon, City last March 21, 2019. The event is concurrent with the previous National Water Pre-Summits conducted in 2017, as part of the Memorandum of Agreement signed between NWRB and University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) for the project entitled “Towards a Comprehensive National Plan for Water Security (Roadmap Preparations) and Summit” under the leadership of Drs. Rex Demafelis and Patricia Ann Sanchez, members of the project management team. 

UPLB served as the technical arm of the project to craft technical reports on different water key dimensions/sectors such as environment, economic, domestic, urban, governance, agriculture and resilience. In addition, series of committee meetings and focus group discussions were also conducted by NWRB in preparation for this event.

Usec. Rosemarie Edillon of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) start-off the summit with the discussion on the importance of water and its underlying concerns. Water demand especially on urban centers, flood management and climate change impacts to water are some of the issues that she mentioned. Moreover, Asec. Roderick Planta of NEDA discussed the state of water in the country. He emphasized that water should be managed using Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Framework. 

Part also of the event was the presentation of cluster output based from the conducted focus group discussions and committee meetings. Cluster A includes governance, resilience and environment sectors; Cluster B is for urban and domestic sectors; and Cluster C is for agriculture and economics. Key issues and recommendations/strategies (short-term, medium-term and long-term) for each cluster were presented. (JOAquino)

SESAM joins the 19th National Cave Congress of the Philippines

caveSESAM explored one of the newly discovered caves in Sta. Teresita, Cagayan, the Tabacco Cave in 2016. Caves are important ecosystems that need to be studied for biodiversity and tourism.

Baggao, Cagayan--The 19th National Cave Congress was recently held at the Municipality of Baggao, Cagayan Province last 6-10 March 2019 with Dr. Rico Ancog as a plenary speakerunder the theme, “The Importance of Karst and Cave Water Resource, Biodiversity and Risk Management.” 

Organized by the Philippine Speleological Society, Inc (PSS) in collaboration with the Biodiversity Management Bureau-Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-BMB) and the Department of Tourism (DOT), the congress gathered spelunkers, scientists, biologists, and various stakeholders from local government units, research institutions and state university and colleges in the Philippines.

The congress was being organized in support to the implementation of Republic Act 9072 or the National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act. It tackled major issues to advance caves and karst conservation, management and educate the people on the importance of caves and karst. It also trained the attendees on several trainings on basic caving, cave mapping, cave management, single rope technique and cave rescue.

Dr. Ancog elaborated on the importance of understanding cave use and conservation from institutional lens and highlighted the need to clarify the property rights regime of a given cave system. Using data from DENR-BMB, Dr. Ancog provided status of the Philippine caves focusing on the classified 3007 caves across the country as of September 2018. Of these, only 1085 were assessed and about 616 of which has been duly classified that then determines its specific allowable use. Out of the total 1085 assessed caves in the country, about 218 are located within protected areas. Of the 616 classified, about 328 have assessment reports formulated, 274 with maps, and only 280 been issued with specific municipal resolutions. Using the case of Pangasinan Province (n=120 caves), it is shown that the status of caves (exploited, vandalized, intact) is significantly affected by location (outside or within PA), land status (within A&D, timberland, private land, etc.) and classification types (Class 1, 2 and 3). 

The study of Dr. Ancog proposed a research agenda focusing on the governance and management imperatives of the Philippine caves to strengthen its conservation. These include: studies clarifying property rights and regimes to clarify individual and collective rights as well responsibilities of parties and stakeholders; Accounting for caves ecosystems as natural capital thereby requiring economic valuation studies, more biodiversity assessments, and strengthened integration and considerations in the environmental impact systems; identification of models and frameworks towards adaptive cave governance: and the application of resilience thinking in the research framework and practice of cave conservation in the country. 

Dr. Ancog presents study at NAST Speakers Bureau

RCA NAST CebuThe Speakers Bureau. Dr. Rico C. Ancog (3rd from right, front row), presented his Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary study during the NAST Speaker's Bureau last March 7, 2019 at Hotel Elizabeth, Lahug, Cebu City.


Cebu City- The National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) held its Speakers Bureau Program last 7 March 2019 in Hotel Elisabeth in Lahug, Cebu City with Dr. Rico Ancog, Assistant Professor, School of Environmental Science and Mangement (SESAM), as one of its presenters. The Speakers Bureau is a program under the advisory function of NAST. It aims to gather and bring experts in various fields to lend their expertise to academic institutions or any interested organizations who are in need of speakers and resource persons on any science-related issues. 


The recently-concluded meeting focused on urbanization in general and particularly highlighted some related issues and concerns on the environment, social decay, disaster risk reduction and management and plastics. These topics were also analyzed in the context of Metro Cebu, which has significantly experienced significant urbanization processes for the past decades. Attended by around 75 research and development practitioners from various research institutions, government offices, and state university and colleges, the meeting has highlighted how urbanization could be better pursued in the context of the Central Visayas region.


For his part, Dr. Ancog presented his study entitled “Urbanization adjacent to a wetland of international importance: The case of Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary (OIWS), Metro Cebu, Philippines,” published in Elsevier’s Habitat International journal. The paper won the Dr. Elvira O. Tan Award (natural resources and environment category) in the 2017 National Symposium on Agriculture, Aquatic and Resources Research and Development sponsored by the Los Baños-based Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD).


The OIWS is the country’s first affirmed Ramsar Site and was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1992. It covers about 5,800 hectares that encompasses inter-tidal flat lands, mangroves, coral reefs, islets and seagrass beds and form part the larger Metro Cebu. For the past decades, however, urbanization– specifically population pressure, coastal development and the availability of employment and livelihood- has posed a great risk to the conservation of the protected landscape. Analyzing the land cover change by comparing remotely sensed land cover and available land use maps, historical population data and household level information, the SESAM project has noted that from 1970 to 2010, there was an increasing trend of urbanization in the coastal areas of Cebu main island adjacent to OIWS, which was attributed to an increase in population. 


Metro Cebu’s urbanization has spawned problems and issues related to fishing in coastal communities in Cebu such as illegal fishing practices, decreasing fish stocks and presence of solid wastes in the fishing areas. To address the prevailing urbanization issues in Metro Cebu, the study recommended improved land use planning that considers the alignment of regional, local, and site-specific concerns of OIWS as a wetland of international importance.


EMB-DENR taps SESAM for Eco-DRR Training

YASucol Eco-DRRDr. Yusof A. Sucol, University Researcher II, led the SESAM-UPLB researchers in conducting Eco-DRR training at N Hotel, Cagayan de Oro City, March 6, 2018.

The Environmental Management Bureau-Department of Environment and Natural Resources (EMB-DENR) tapped research personnel from the School of Environmental Science and Management-University of the Philippines Los Baños (SESAM-UPLB) as resource persons for the Ecosystems-based Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR) seminar conducted last March 6-8, 2019 at the N Hotel, Cagayan de Oro City.


The workshop, entitled “National Planning Workshop on Ecosystems-Based Adaptation (EBA) and Eco-DRR Mainstreaming cum Orientation-Seminar on Communication Planning for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction” is part of the capacity development of EBA mainstreaming of the EMB Climate Change Division in cooperation with the EMB Regional Offices.


The basis for this seminar was the DENR Memorandum No. 2016-55 in February 1, 2016 by Usec. Jonas Leones, Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs, which stated the inclusion of Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (EBA) concept that will address ecosystems resilience and ecological integrity as one of the contributions of the DENR in its intended nationally determined contributions in accordance with our country’s commitments to the Paris Agreement.


In the three-day seminar, participants were expected to learn and understand the links between ecosystems, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction and sustainable livelihoods; increase awareness on the multiple benefits provided by ecosystems for risk reduction, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and sustainable development; develop knowledge and skills on how to integrate eco-DRR into the development planning processes; facilitate cross-sectoral collaboration between environmental management, DRR, climate change and development actors; develop an action agenda that integrates EBA/Eco-DRR into development plans and programs; learn and understand the basic concepts of communication planning and its relevance to climate change; learn how to develop a strategic communication plan on climate change; and formulate initial communication plan for climate change for their respective regions.


Among the resource speakers from SESAM-UPLB during the workshop were Dr. Yusof A. Sucol, University Researcher II; Dr. Thaddeus P. Lawas, University Extension Specialist II; and For. Sofia A. Alaira, University Researcher I. Ms. Lorizel Montealegre, of the EMB-Environmental Education and Information Division (EEID), provided the lecture and group activities in communication planning.


Dr. Sucol lectured on the introduction to Eco-DRR, including its concepts, elements, its link to climate change adaptation and its benefits. “The practice of Eco-DRR is essential to the mandate of EMB, as you are in forefront of protecting the environment”, Dr. Sucol stressed. Meanwhile, For. Alaira gave an overview of the global and national data on risk, disasters and ecosystems. She highlighted the disaster experiences of the Philippines and the worst effects in the environment, people and economy. For his part, Dr. Lawas presented the relevant national policies regarding Eco-DRR and an example of a strategic communication plan implemented by SESAM for the disaster resilience of the Municipality of Mabitac, Laguna. Lastly, Ms. Montealegre conducted a communication planning group activity for the participants to enhance the participants’ capability in the development of future communication plans of their respective regional offices.

More than 50 representatives from different EMB-DENR regional offices attended the workshop. These representatives will be leading in the development of a communication plan that would provide direction and guidance for awareness and understanding of climate change and DRR in their regions.

UPLB-IDSC Water joins Plenary Meeting Platform on Water Resilience and Disasters

Water plenary 010719Participants from ICHARM, PWRI, JICA, University of Tokyo, National Government Agencies, Local Government Units and UP Constituent Universities, during the Plenary Meeting last February 7, 2019 at Luxent Hotel, Quezon, City (Photo by: ICHARM).

The International Centre for Water Hazards and Risk Management (ICHARM) conducted the plenary and technical meeting on water resilience and disasters last February 28, 2019 at Luxent Hotel Quezon, City. It is the 3rdplenary meeting aimed to update on the activities and implementation process of platform. This event was attended by representatives from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Public Works Research Institute (PWRI), University of Tokyo, Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources-National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (DENR-NAMRIA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), National Water Resources Board (NWRB), National Irigation Administration (NIA), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Local Government Units of Region III and XI and UP Constituent Universities from Los Baños, Diliman and Mindanao.


Dr. Renato Solidum, Jr., Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Platform Co-Chair, highlighted the importance of national and international collaboration in seeking for solutions in disaster risk reduction. He also mentioned that this initiative has a goal of attaining “safe and resilient community.” Engr. Patrick Gatan, Project Director of Flood Control Management Cluster of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), stated that “flood investments should be scaled-up to provide nationwide solution to flood problems and challenges.” He added that the output of the meeting should be maximized and improvement of coordination among international, national and local agencies is vital in this endeavor. 


Dr. Toshio Koike, Director of ICHARM, discussed recurrent water-related disasters in Japan and their countermeasures. For the next steps, integration of pro-active planning, multi-stakeholder participation and infrastructure investment are important in addressing water-related disasters in the county, he added. 


Integrated risk assessment will include data integration of damage and hazard including socio-economic component. It is a combined effort from different national and local government agencies (e,g. DOST, LGU, PSA) to initiate flood forecasting and early warning systems in order to assess climate change impacts to the communities. In a holistic view, data integration is beneficial to the country as this will be the basis for investments, decision-making and policy-making towards reducing water-related disaster risk and improvement of the welfare of communities. 


The attendees were hopeful that through data integration, flood forecasting and early warning, climate change and economic assessment and contingency planning with participation of different stakeholders, resilience on water-related disasters will be attained in Davao and Pampanga area as proposed sites and in the whole country in the future. (Jessa O. Aquino)


SESAM to join Earthquake Drill on February 21

UP shake drill

The School of Environmental Science and Management will participate in the University of the Philippines System Shake Drill, as part of the Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) on February 21 (Thursday), between 2-3 pm, to test the University’s evacuation procedures, communication protocol with the Emergency Operations Center, and the capacity to carry out its first response operations among its faculty, staff, and students as it has done in the past three years.

The drill will simulate a large magnitude earthquake and all constituent universities are encouraged to conduct related activities such as the sounding of an alarm, “duck, cover, and hold” exercise, evacuation and assembly in designated areas, reporting via Incident Command System, and other similar simulations. All units are requested to document their NSED activities and submit to the UP Resilience Institute as the office tasked by the Office of the UP President to coordinate the NSED.

Please use the hashtag #UPShakeDrill on your social media posts to document your NSED activities. For details, please coordinate with Dr. Yusof Sucol, University Researcher II at the Climate Risk Studies Center, SESAM.