Keynote Message SECRETARY MARIO G. MONTEJO MDRU Project Launching and Turnover Ceremonies Department of Science and Technology (DOST) 10 February 2015 San Remigio Municipal Hall, Cebu
Good morning, everyone! It is with great honor that I present various programs and projects of the Department, in heed of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM). But before proceeding to my message, allow me to congratulate the organizersthe DOST Team and ICT Office for creating this event as a window to promote the potentials and need for Science and Technology and ICT interventions in mitigating disaster. I would also like to welcome the various undersecretaries of DOST, representatives of the International and Telecommunication Union (ITU), representatives from the Government of Japan, and Mayor______ (read other VIP NAMES). Welcome everyone to the MDRU Project Launching and Turnover Ceremonies
The Philippine archipelago given its geographical location has always been susceptible to shocks caused by typhoons, earthquakes, and various natural disasters. And the gravity of these shocks over the years is hastened due to the effects of climate change. From the past two years we have experienced one of the strongest typhoons: Haiyan in 2013, Hagupit in 2014, and a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Bohol in 2013. And the aftermath of each disaster as we all know were eye opener to become faster, more efficient, and more effective in responding to calamities in the future. As resilient as we can be as a nation, this is not enough. Resilience by definition is the ability to bounce back after
shocks. But bouncing back does not just satisfy the Government. We have to reduce the damages brought about by calamities and natural disasters, possibly producing zero casualties in terms of lives and economy. We have to be two steps ahead of the onset of disasters. We have to be intelligent! Another threat that climate change poses is sustainable development. With the adverse effects of disasters, it is important for us to protect our natural resources in order for the present generation to meet their needs without harming the ability of the future generation to provide on their own. In addressing these, the Philippine Government has utilized S&T and ICT to serve as safeguards in order to ensure that these threats are addressed.
The DOST piloted the Nationwide Operational Assessment for Hazards (NOAH) Project. It is the response of the government to be able to deliver more accurate, integrated, and responsive disaster prevention and mitigation system, especially in high-risk areas throughout the Philippines. In order to serve Filipinos better, NOAH is also available online and can be browsed in your desktop PC, portable computers, and smartphones. The website contains science-based weather information to monitor typhoons and floods, and hazard maps of identified hazard-risk areas as well as safer ground.
Part of NOAH is the Disaster Risk Assessment, Exposure and Mitigation-Light Ranging and Detection Technology or what we call the DREAM LiDAR. Dream LiDAR is a 3D Mapping Project, which aims to create a more accurate terrain elevation map for the development of flood plain for inundation maps and for performing on-demand flood
simulations. Recently, it is awarded Geospatial World Excellence in Policy Implementation during the Geospatial World Forum 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.
DOST truly believe in partnerships. In fact, we have a technology grant from IBM, which allows us to have an Intelligence Operations Center. This Center includes Integrated Communications Center that allows inter-operability of different communications systems that include HF, VHF, and UHF radio systems.
One idea that dawned on me is that according to the World Vision 90 percent of disaster related deaths occurred in developing countries and is associated with poverty and inability to provide enough resources. This statistics may or may not be conclusive but it is an indicator that we have to provide concrete actions to stop these deaths. The Department uses Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in response to mitigating natural disasters. ICT is so powerful that it is considered as a tool that enables socio-economic and environmental sustainability. It is considered as a bridge in improving social, economic, cultural, and political developments, climate change adaptation, and mitigation among others. Having said this, the ICT Office of the DOST has provided measures for the preparation before the natural-calamities and the response to relief through the effective use of ICT and telecommunications.
During Typhoon Haiyan, the Office provided Satellite (SAT) phones. These phones were used to coordinate and fast track the relief for typhoon victims. We have also piloted the
use of the TV White Space Technologies after the onset of the Typhoon to also provide faster relief and connect the affected municipalities into the world when telephone signals were down. TV White Space Technologies utilizes television frequencies to deliver and transmit Internet connectivity to areas that are still off the grid.
The Philippine Government, like I said believes in the Public-Private Partnerships. We are truly thankful to the ITU and the Government of Japan through its Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications for choosing one of the municipalities in the Philippines as a recipient for this very timely and relevant project. The Movable and Deployable ICT Resource Unit (MDRU) will be provided in the Island of Cebu in order to study the feasibility for restoring basic telecommunication infrastructure that was destroyed by typhoon Haiyan. The MDRU is an ICT solution that is seen as a countermeasure for disasters.
The Project shall be a case model for ICT infrastructure development in the countryside. Moreover, the MDRU establishment can be deployed to disaster-affected areas in a short period of time, which can be used during disaster and non-disaster time. The project is inline with the â€œWTDC-14 Resolution 66, which provide assistance to developing countries in the use of ICTs to mitigate and address the effects of climate change, taking into account the impact of ICTs on the environmentâ€?. The MDRU project is expected as a key contributor in the international standardization of ICTs for disaster recovery in ITU
and development of ICT infrastructure in rural and remote areas. These standards and infrastructures will be duplicated across developing countries in the world.
An example of best practices of the MDRU was done by the Philippine Central Visayas Information Sharing Network (CVISNET), which is a winner in the area of â€œBroadband for Communities/Schoolsâ€? during the ITU Telecom Word 2013. The organization provided Suldon National High School wireless connectivity for the community, which is located in a remote mountainous area in Cebu City.
The Government will continue collaborating with various entities in the society, in order for us to come up with better projects and programs, in service of the Filipinos. We also look forward to a more strengthened partnership with various International Organizations, to share ideas and best practices in response to Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM). This cooperation agreement is indeed a start of forging partnerships of the Philippines and other nations. It is a true testament that if nations act as one, we can all do something to provide a better future for the citizens of our countries. The effects of climate change are inevitable, but we can do something to mitigate its effects. But change and actions should start from us- as individuals, as a nation, and as citizens of the world.
Maraming Salamat and Mabuhay