In an attempt to contribute to the disaster preparedness of Laguna for the predicted movement of the West Valley Fault, the UP Open University organized a seminar on it on 26 August 2015 at the CCDL Auditorium, UP Open University Headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna.
The West Valley Fault Awareness Seminar targeted the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) officers and the officials of the affected barangays in San Pedro, Biñan, Sta. Rosa, Cabuyao, Calamba and Los Baños. The first five of the said municipalities and cities in Laguna are directly above the West Valley Fault line.
Dr. Melinda Lumanta, UPOU Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, welcomed the participants, anticipating the many lessons and know-hows each one will take home from the seminar.
Dr. Renato U. Solidum, Director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), was the seminar’s keynote speaker. Dr. Solidum explained how the West Valley Fault prediction came to be, discussed what happens in the event of earthquakes, and gave pointers on how barangay officials can help prepare their communities for disasters. He also discussed what to do for infrastructure that were built above the fault lines.
Another speaker, Mr. Aldwin Cejo, the Designated Assistant Department Head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office of the Province of Laguna, presented the different initiatives and efforts undertaken by the Laguna Provincial Government in terms of disaster preparedness.
Panel discussants were also invited to the seminar, namely, Ms. Malyn Tumonong, geologist and a faculty member of the National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGS) of UP Diliman; Dr. Sheila R. Bonito, Chair of the Committee on Disaster Preparedness of the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) and Professor at the UP Open University; and Dr. Alexander G. Flor, a risk communication expert and Professor of UP Open University. Asst. Prof. Finaflor Taylan was the seminar’s emcee and moderator, and also acted as one of the discussants, as an expert in social work.
The seminar ended with Dr. Ricardo Bagarinao, UPOU Professor and UP Scientist I, delivering the closing remarks. He relayed how honored UPOU was for being able to be part of the move to heighten the awareness and preparedness for the West Valley Fault movement, and thanked all the officials from San Pedro, Biñan, Sta. Rosa, Calamba and Los Baños and encouraged them to make sure their communities are prepared for disasters. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)