Saving lives, livelihood: Disaster risk reduction, mitigation lies in Science - DOST official

The country's resident geologist and "fault finder" believes that the power to save lives and livelihoods lies in science and technology and must be utilized.


Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Officer-in-Charge Renato U. Solidum Jr. made the statement in relation to the 2022 National Disaster Resilience Month (NDRM). Solidum shared that DOST, for many years has provided science-based solutions to the country’s problems related to natural hazards such as typhoons and earthquakes

He added that the agency has always focused on strengthening the disaster risk reduction and mitigation programs of its two frontline agencies, namely the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

“Science and technology have the power to save lives and livelihoods, and we must use them,” he said.

Solidum pointed out that the country’s long-term vision is to build a society where families thrive in vibrant, culturally, diverse, and resilient communities.

He also emphasized that disasters are preventable by understanding the risks and anticipating future scenarios so that people can avoid and mitigate the negative impact by building local capacity and producing research-based products and systems.

In highlighting that science is useful, usable, and used when it comes to disaster risk reduction and mitigation, he referred to the different projects spearheaded by the DOST like the Dynaslope project, GeoRisk PH, Hybrid Electric Road Train, and Project SARAI.

He said that the Dynaslope project reduces landslide risk in communities with a community-based early-warning system. The landslide sensors installed in strategic locations detect movements even before the hazard is visually manifested and the rain gauge measures the amount of rainfall in the area.

On the other hand, GeoRisk Philippines serves as a source of information for accurate and efficient hazard and risk assessment. Through this innovation, the public is informed about the hazards and what the hazards can do so that the communities can prepare and implement mitigating strategies.

Meanwhile, for the past five years, Solidum said that DOST has been supported by Project SARAI or Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as An Industry in the Philippines. It aims to reduce climate risks by providing agricultural stakeholders with site-specific crop advisories using advanced technology.

“Project SARAI’s advisories focus on integrating local weather data and crowd forecast with farm management activity, specifically nutrient and water management and proactive and disease monitoring,” said Usec. Solidum.

“So, what do these innovations have in common? These are technologies developed through rigorous scientific research. They are evidence of why resilience building cuts across sectors. The community is the heart of the innovations but they are also the co-owners and co-implementers,” said Usec. Solidum.

Usec. Solidum, sometimes referred to as the "fault finder" further said that prevention and mitigation can be demonstrated through the installation and use of warning systems, use of risk assessment, smart land use planning, effective city design, establishing lifelines and disaster-proof houses, prioritization of greening programs and agriculture, and increase in resilient livelihood activities. He added that it might be expensive but it is cost-effective in the long run.