THE opening ceremony for the 3-day event, “Handa Pilipinas: Innovations in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Exposition’s” Mindanao leg opened on Wednesday in Cagayan de Oro City. The festivity, organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), aimed to serve as a platform to empower communities and barangays through the utilization of available data and research on disaster response, rehabilitation, and recovery. It sought to foster collaboration among legislators, local government units (LGUs), private firms, and other agencies in embracing science and innovative technologies.
DOST secretary Dr. Renato U. Solidum Jr. was the keynote speaker for the occasion held in the so-called “City of Golden Friendship.” He compared Filipinos’ resilience to a bamboo that “remains standing upright after disasters and the ability to absorb, adapt and transform despite the adversities.” “As we aim and aspire to grow our economy in Mindanao, then therefore, we need to protect our resources, our wealth through reducing climate and disaster risks,” Solidum said, adding that “there is no such thing as natural disaster, only natural hazards.” This year’s expo aims to increase public awareness of preventable and solvable problems. The Science head said that disasters are reversing development as Filipinos are usually the victims and he wants them to prevail as “victors over disasters” or survivors.
Solidum mentioned some of the inventions and innovations to counter disasters. Among these are Filipino-made technologies such as early warning systems, satellite rainfall extremes, geo-risk Philippine initiative platforms that include hazard hunter app that won one of the seven being practiced globally, plans app ready to reveal – the first app in the world that is automated. Meanwhile, Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez of the 2nd District of Cagayan de Oro City, in his message of support, said the occasion “is a testament to the department’s unwavering commitment to their mandate of using science and technology to build a better and resilient nation.” He said Cagayan de Oro City is defined as a city which has resilience and the ability to spring back. Others who attended the event were DOST undersecretary for regional operations, Engr. Sancho Mabborang; Undersecretary Teodoro Gatchalian; Cagayan de Oro City 1st District Rep. Lordan G, Suan; DOST 10 regional director, Engr. Romela Ratilla, Others who sent in their representatives on their behalf were Senate president Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Dept. of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr.,Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Rolando “Klarex” Uy, Dinagat Islands Lone Rep. Alan B. Ecleo.