Surigao Del Sur State University Hosts 2016 PNEE Conference

PNEE 2016

CHED Commissioner Dr. Ruperto S. Sangalang is this year's keynote speaker of the PNEE Conference and Scientific Meeting. PNEE President Dr. Andrew Eusebio S. Tan (middle, seated) and Surigao del Sur State University President Dr. Baceledes R. Estal (right, seated) also graced the opening ceremonies.

The 9th International Conference and Scientific Meeting of the Philippine Network of Educators on Environment kicked-off last August 23, 2016 at the Prospero Pichay, Jr. Gym, Surigao del Sur State University (SDSDU) Main Campus, Tandag City, Surigao del Sur.

With the theme “Linking Environmental Education With Climate Change Resilience and Green Growth”, this year’s conference attracted more than 150 professors, researchers and students from different state universities and colleges in the country, as well as representatives from the government and international agencies.

In his keynote speech, Dr. Ruperto S. Sangalang, Commissioner, Commission on Higher Education (CHED), urged participants to pursue researches in climate resiliency and make sure its outputs will really benefit the Filipino people. “Make sure the technologies you develop will benefit our countrymen”, Dr. Sangalang added.

Paper presentations highlighted the parallel sessions on day two. The School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) Research, Extension and Professional Staff (REPS) attended athe event presented papers based on their respective studies.

Ms. Loucel E. Cui, presented the research entitled “ Diminutive Freshwater Fish of Sta. Cruz River System, Laguna Philippines”, while Mr. Thaddeus P. Lawas presented a component of his project entitled “ Economic Impacts of the World Food Programme-assisted Disaster Risk Reduction Projects of 10 Municipalities in the Philippines. Dr. Marisa J. Sobremisana presented a paper entitled “Swine Wastewater Treatment Using Constructed Wetlands: a Review”. Dr. Yusuf A. Sucol lectured on “One Health in Action: Exposing the Potential Risks of the Fraudulent Use of Non-food Grade Artificial Dyes in Food Fishes”. Meanwhile, For. Sofia A. Alaira delivered a talk on “Diversity Assessment of Indigenous Tree Species in Mt. Banoi, Batangas City.

On day three, participants can join one of the two field trips arranged by the organizers. Participants can either visit the Enchanted River in Hinatuan City or join the island hopping on the Britannia Group of Islands in Lianga, Surigao del Sur.

Andrew Eusebio S. Tan, President of PNEE, said the organization is very grateful to its partner, the SDSSU for hosting the conference this year. For his part, Dr. Baceledes R. Estal, President of SDSSU, said the whole academic community of SDSSU is really excited to host this big event, which is also a big opportunity to showcase the beautiful province of Surigao del Sur. 

SESAM joins the NSTW 2016 at Bicutan Science Community

NSTW NRCP

Grade school students trying to answer the surprise quiz on the "Now I Know too" interactive CD on climate change and disaster risk reduction and management. This is a product of the SESAM and the United Nations-World Food Programme project entitled "Documentation and Evaluation of Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness and Response Projects in Four Provinces: Cagayan, Benguet, Laguna, Sorsogon."

With this year’s theme, “Juan Science, One Nation”, the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) joined the 2016 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) held last July 25-29, 2016 in Bicutan Science Community. This event was simultaneously celebrated in all DOST regional offices and major offices in Bicutan, Taguig, Quezon City, Manila, and Los Baños.

SESAM showcased technological innovations, such as the Automated Weather Station (AWS) and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Different kinds of rocks that originated across the Philippines were also presented. A microscope was provided so students can see closely on the rocks' structure. An interactive CD entitled "Now I Know Too" allowed grade school students to play and learn trivia and info about disaster risk reduction and management. Videos on climate change were also shown during the exhibit.

SESAM also had series of film showing on climate change, air pollution, greenhouse gases, and similar topics. Grade school students actively participated and answered questions after every video show.

"We hope to sustain the enthusiasm on science and technology (S&T) created by the past administration and work on what remains to be resolved for the benefit of even those who are on the outskirts of development", Dr. Fortunato T. De La Peña, the new  DOST Secretary, said in his opening remarks (http://nstw.dost.gov.ph/articles.php?b=).

NSTW is held every July to give recognition to outstanding accomplishments and personalities in the field of science and technology.    –RM Areglado & Cherry Padilla

Project SARAI Conducts Training for Partner SUCs

SARAI training BSU

Dr. Felino P. Lansigan, Dean of College of Arts and Sciences, UPLB gave an overview of the SARAi traing at Benguet State University 

As part of the initiatives of Project SARAI for its partner State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), SARAI Project 4, led by Dr. Decibel Faustino-Eslava, Dean of SESAM, together with SARAI Project 1 led by Dr. Felino P. Lansigan, Dean of College of Arts and Sciences, conducted the SARAI Training-Workshop on Crop Forecasting using Crop Simulation and Cropped Area Estimation.

The training-workshop was conducted in Benguet State University (BSU), La Trinidad, Benguet last July 5-7, 2016 and in Caraga State University (CSU), Butuan City, Agusan Del Norte last July 19-21, 2016.

The training-workshop in BSU was participated by the consultants of SARAI and other faculty and researchers from SUCs in Luzon, including BSU, Bicol State University, Central Luzon State University (CLSU), Isabela State University (ISU), Mindoro State College of Agriculture and Technology (MINSCAT), and  Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU). The training-workshop in CSU was participated by SUCs from Visayas and Mindanao, including CSU, Western Visayas State University (WVSU), Central Mindanao University (CMU), Southern Philippines Agri-business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST), and University of Southern Mindanao (USM).

With an aim of having the participants learn the operation of crop modeling software and their applications to climate variability, water management, yield gap analysis, site-specific management, and other issues, the participants were trained on the use of software, such as Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT), LARS-WG Stochastic Weather Generator, and QGIS (Free and Open Source Geographic Information System).

“I find the software easy to use given the available weather data and other variables”, said Dr. Adeflor Garcia of USM.

Dr. Pompe Sta. Cruz also lectured on the techniques, with a sharing of his own experiences, in writing research papers for publication.

The training-workshop was done in partnership with the host universities– BSU with President Feliciano Calora, Jr., and CSU with President Anthony Penaso. (RM Areglado and Cherry Padilla)

SESAM-UPLB students present EIA findings to DOST

ENS 296 midterm 2016

The ENS 296 class of mid term 2016 presented the results of their study at DOST-Region IV PSTC office in Batangas City last July 21, 2016.

LAGUNA – Eighteen graduate students of the School of Environment Science and Management – University of the Philippines Los Banos (SESAM-UPLB) presented their analysis of and recommendation for the Provincial Science and Technology Center-Department of Science and Technology (PSTC-DOST) in Batangas City to key officials of the DOST Region 4A on July 21. 

They were also set to submit an Environmental Performance Report and Management Plan detailing the environmental impacts assessment (EIA) of the Center and the corresponding mitigation and enhancement measures.

Compliance with this part was required from the PSTC, which houses the Regional Volumetric Calibration Laboratory, offering calibrating and verification services for petroleum products, to secure an environmental clearance.

According to the SESAM-UPLB report, the most serious environmental issues involved in the calibration process are the accumulation of skimmed oil and the presence of oil spills.

To address such adverse impacts, the presenters developed several initiatives in four major concerns such as hazardous waste management; disaster risk reduction and management plan; health, safety, and security; and other concerns. 

A subject requirement for ENS 296 (Environmental Impact Assessment: Perspectives from the Natural and Social Sciences) under Dr. Rico C. Ancog, the study was conducted over a short period of six weeks from June 14 to July 20. 

For his part, DOST-4A Regional Director Dr. Alexander Madrigal, an alumnus of the UPLB College of Agriculture, lauded the presentation and complimented the students, saying that the project was “the best” they had seen so far.

Other key officials who attended were Assistant Regional Director for Technical Operations Dr. Lydia Manguiat, Assistant Regional Director for Finance and Administrative Services Bernard Soriano, and Supervising Science Research Specialist Emelita Bagsit.

PSTC Provincial Director Felina Malabanan and Science Research Specialist II/Pollution Control Officer Brigido Casanova also joined the panel discussion.

The team of EIA Preparers included Dianne Krizzia Allanigue, Rhina Boncocan, Angelina Bustos, Ma. Christina Corales, Ria Jhoanna Ducusin, Abel Fulgencio, Wesley Gagarin, Prince Couen Golez, Ma. Cherry Ann Gorgonio, Rodelio Idago, Aira Mae Mendoza, Agnes Morales Ren Divien Obena, Hannah Alexandria Ramirez, Eileen Redera, Angelica Fleur Umali, Leajim Villanueva, and Dennus Yamuta. (Prince Golez)

SESAM -WFP project delivers IEC materials to partner LGUs

 

Turnover of IEC

Turnover of IEC materials. The SESAM-World Food Programme (WFP) project entitled "Documentation and evelauation of disaster mitigation, preparedness and response projects in the municipalities under the WFP-DPR program in four provinces: Sorsogon, Laguna, Cagayan and Benguet", delivered the stickers, radio plugs, interactive CDs and videos to the municipality of Irosin Sorsogon. Project leader Mr. Thad Lawas (3rd form left) also awarded a plaque of appreciation to Irosin Mayor Alfredo Cielo (3rd from right) during the turnover of Information, Education and Communication materials last July 19, 2016 at at Irosin Municipal Hall.

Documentation and Evaluation Project Holds Capacity Building Initiatives for Disaster Preparedness Workshop

WFP seminar group photo

Capacity building initiatives on DPR seminar participants with the SESAM project team

The School of Environmental Science and Management conducted a Capacity Building Initiatives for Disaster Preparedness Workshop last June 28, 2016 at the SEARCA Residence Hotel, UP Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines. The workshop was intended to present the results of the World Food Programme funded project, “Documentation and Evaluation of Disaster Preparedness and Response Projects of the Ten Selected Municipalities in Four Provinces: Cagayan, Benguet, Laguna, and Sorsogon,” implemented by researchers from the School of Environmental Science and Management-UP Los Baños (SESAM-UPLB).

The project partners and Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officers (MDRRMOs) from Benguet, Ms. Emma Eliw of Kibungan, Mr. Erick Abangley of Kapangan, and Mr. Abner Lawangen of Tublay, attended the event together with the MDRRMOs from Laguna province such as Los Baños, Bay, Calauan, San Pablo, Victoria, and Famy. UPLB Researchers and students were also present in the workshop. The event provided an opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences in Disaster Preparedness and Response (DPR) in their locality.

Dr. Leonardo Florece, former dean of SESAM, graced the workshop and pointed out the importance of partnering academe and international agencies with local government units (LGUs) in providing assistance to communicate science-based information to build safer, adaptive, and disaster resilient Filipino communities.

DRRM representatives from Benguet presented their disaster management projects and challenges experienced under the second phase of the UN World Food Programme-Disaster Preparedness and Response Programme (UN WFP-DPR), which were implemented from 2012 to 2013. Their projects mainly involved capacity building trainings such as GIS hazard mapping, contingency plans, community based emergency protocol, and search and rescue operations for municipal and barangay emergency response teams.

Mr. Lawangen, MDRRMO of Tublay, specifically mentioned that low attendance and participation levels of the locals were the most challenging parts during the project implementation aside from the low awareness on the disaster risks. Far locations of houses from the municipal hall added to these challenges, where they used to conduct trainings. He further shared that community involvement can be improved by being sensitive to local situations and their regular activities like the number of family members and planting and harvest seasons.

“With our mountainous location, sometimes it takes two to three days for our constituents to travel and attend workshops in our Municipal Hall”, Mr. Lawangen said. Due to this situation, visiting barangays to conduct disaster management activities is far more effective way to motivate community’s attendance and participation. Recruiting of local trainers coming from barangays is also recommended to establish good rapport with the residents.

On the other hand, the project leader, Mr. Thaddeus Lawas and project staff, Ms. Alma Lorelei Abejero from SESAM discussed DPR projects of Sorsogon and Laguna under the Phase 2 WFP-DPR programme. MDRRMOs from the two regions were unable to attend the workshop due to the first tropical cyclone in the Philippines for this year, Tropical Depression Ambo.

The workshop further had enriching discussions on the economic valuation, which was a part of the project results. Economic valuation was conducted whether to find out the disaster preparedness and response projects had economic impacts in the project areas. Mr. Nico Anastacio, an economic consultant and University Researcher at the College of Public Affairs and Development-UPLB, discussed that with WFP’s financial support, LGU partners from Benguet, Sorsogon, Cagayan, and Laguna were able to save significant amount of local resources. His discussion dealt with several topics showing the avoided costs, for instance, direct value of funding assistance provided by WFP, avoided casualties, engineering cost reduction, and avoided cost for relief operations.

For avoided casualties, as he mentioned, the community with enhanced awareness and capacity building projects on disaster risks could now reduce the number of casualties by at least 10 percent (Php 180,000 in monetary value). He further added that the community could utilize the saved costs in financing other development projects of the local community or in future disaster reduction-related trainings.

Ms. Minji Na, a research assistant of the project team, presented the results of the household survey on the locals’ preference regarding the information, education, and communication (IEC) materials, such as radio plugs, interactive CD, mobile app, and one-liner stickers. The most preferred IEC material in four provinces was a radio plug. Interactive CD and mobile app were also demonstrated to the workshop participants, which are expected to be used by elementary and high school students.

At the end of the workshop, project partners were awarded with the best practices under the four categories based on the evaluation of the data results gathered from focus group discussion, household survey, and key informant interviews.

Municipality of Sta. Teresita-Cagayan was awarded with the Best in Governance, Kapangan-Benguet with Best in Education and Knowledge, and Juban-Sorsogon with Best in Disaster Preparedness and Response. The over-all winner for the Best in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management was given to the municipality of Tublay-Benguet with their recognized effort and efficient DRRM projects such as Incident Command System, which includes emergency communication protocol and alert systems.

Because of the positive impacts discussed by the project partners, many of the invited guests and LGUs expressed their interest in collaborating with UN WFP and academe partners like UPLB in conducting disaster risk management trainings and evaluation of their DRR projects. 

About 50 attended the event that served as a concluding workshop of the seven-month-long project. The project is led by Mr. Lawas and the project team of Ms. Abejero, Ms. Na, Mr. Simplicio Veluz and Ms. Ailynn Gonzales. (Minji Na)