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22/05/2018: SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION KEY TO ENHANCING RESILIENCY – DOST EXEC

PRESS RELEASE
WDC-38-2018
22 May 2018

Dr. Renato Solidum, Undersecretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change highlights the integral role of science, technology and innovation in enhancing disaster and climate resiliency, at a lecture presentation held on 21 May 2018 at the Philippine Chancery Annex Building in Washington, D.C

WASHINGTON, D.C.— “There is no substitute for knowing the risks, and being prepared for everything that you can ever imagine as potentially going wrong.”

This was the key message of Dr. Renato Solidum, Undersecretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change, in speaking before multi-sectoral audiences at the Philippine Embassy and the World Bank, in Washington, D.C. on 21 May 2018.

In his lecture at the Embassy, Dr. Solidum spoke about science, technology and innovation for disaster and climate resiliency before a mixed group of academics and analysts, Government officials, private sector representatives, and members of the Filipino-American community.

“The Philippines is a country exposed to various natural hazards and climate change. We need to live safely with these natural perils. Through science, technology and innovation, we at the DOST strive to monitor and forecast, assess the hazard and risk, communicate the risk, and provide technology solutions to reduce disaster risks and mitigate and adapt to climate change.  We also have much to share to others - the knowledge and experience to make communities disaster and climate resilient,” Dr. Solidum said.

The lecture focused on the various geological and hydro-meteorological hazards that naturally beset the Philippines as an extremely vulnerable country in both the Pacific typhoon belt and ring of fire. He emphasized the importance of monitoring & forecasting; hazard & risk assessment; risk communication; and appropriate response during & after disasters, as key action points for Philippine policy and practice with respect to disaster risk reduction and management.

Dr. Solidum also shared how DOST and other agencies have been working with development partners in mapping geohazards and hydro-meteorological hazards that could underpin informed policymaking. And aside from working with and empowering communities for disaster risk preparedness and management, the government has also developed various hazard and risk assessment software, as well as web and phone applications for risk communication.

He ended his lecture with a case study of how the Philippine Government is preparing for the “big ones” that could potentially affect the greater Metro Manila area. Dr. Solidum outlined the steps being taken in ensuring the physical safety of 25.8 million people in the greater Metro Manila area; making critical infrastructure resilient; preserving continuity in government, business & critical public services; ensuring financial resiliency; and safeguarding national security post-disaster.

Prior to his lecture presentation at the Embassy, Dr. Solidum also engaged disaster risk and resiliency experts from the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation in a lunch roundtable. The knowledge sharing event chaired by Thomas Moullier, Senior Urban Specialist at the World Bank, highlighted Philippine efforts in risk identification and how the government utilizes the science, technology and innovation that is widely available for disaster preparedness and regulatory reform.

Dr. Solidum was joined at the World Bank forum by Dr. Benito Pacheco, Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of the Philippines (Diliman), who presented the results of a two-year assistance program provided by the University to the Department of Public Works & Highways that resulted in a proposed Philippine Building Act of 2018.

Mr. Hank Hendrickson, Executive Director of the US-Philippines Society, which co-sponsored the lecture presentation at the Embassy, said, “Dr. Solidum's presentation on resilience and natural disaster response underlined the importance of modern technologies and global cooperation, including with the United States. He specifically acknowledged the critical role of Philippines-U.S. civilian and military disaster response planning in meeting humanitarian needs."

“I am pleased that Dr. Solidum and Dr. Pacheco were able to share the initiatives, policies, and experience of the Philippines in disaster risk reduction and management. Disaster preparedness and cooperation are key areas in our cooperative work with the World Bank; and these are vital aspects of our bilateral relationship with the United States, whether in the political, military, economic or people-to-people arenas,” Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez also said in a statement. ###