PlanSmart Ready to Rebuild Regional Training for the National Capital Region

November 23, 2022

by: Elynrae Soriano

The PlanSmart Ready to Rebuild training for NCR, is a three-day workshop organized by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), through the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-PHIVOLCS), the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and in partnership with the World Bank and the One Meralco Foundation, last November 23-25, 2022 at the Joy~Nostalg Hotel & Suites in Pasig City. An average of 47 participants coming from Makati City, Valenzuela City, Quezon City, Pasig City, Parañaque City, San Juan City, Mandaluyong City, Navotas City, Malabon City, Caloocan City, Pasay City, and City of Manila & government agencies of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), DILG, and OCD, attended the training course designed to capacitate the technical staff and representatives in gathering and assessing baseline data and formulating Rehabilitation and Recovery Plans using the PlanSmart web application for efficient and science-based programming and planning to combat disasters, of which, will be implemented in their respective local government units later on. This capacity-building event “is significant because the nation’s metro region is the first to undergo the training series” - a timely opportunity given that “the NCR holds a large concentration of people, infrastructure, assets, and properties that are exposed to multiple hazards”, according to Ms. Marilyn Tolosa-Martinez, Senior DRM Specialist of World Bank. She also shared her advocacy of creating a culture of preparedness and searching for innovations that will aid people and their communities in preparing for disasters. Utilizing the PlanSmart web application is a useful way to respond to this call. As per Mr. Jeffrey Ochoa Tarayao, President of One Meralco Foundation, "Plansmart is built as an investment for the safety and survival of our people", so he urged the participants to use the app as well. In addition, Mr. Tarayao firmly believed that in order to become better planners, leaders, and communicators in the event of a disaster, people must immediately develop crucial skills such as data management and analytics. To assist in developing such skills, Asec. Bernardo Rafaelito R. Alejandro IV, NDRRMC-OCD Civil Defense Deputy Administrator for Operations also pushed for the optimization of the PlanSmart app because for him, the “main tool in managing and addressing the impacts of major disasters and complying with the build back better principle is the crafting of the rehabilitation and recovery plans” - a feature the PlanSmart app emphasizes. The workshop itself began after the motivational speeches with lectures on the Overview of Disaster Rehabilitation and Recovery, Introduction to PlanSmart Ready to Rebuild Application, Building Typology, and Walkthrough to the GeoRiskPH Integrated Platform (GRIP), GeoMapperPH, and GeoAnalyticsPH, which were discussed by World Bank DRR Senior Consultant, Ms. Margarita Songco, DOST Secretary, Dr. Renato U. Solidum, Jr., Filipino Environmental Planner, Mr. Marion Micah Tinio, and DOST-PHIVOLCS Science Research Specialists, Dr. Rhommel Grutas, Mr. John Harold Tabuzo, Mr. Hanz Cesar Alejandria, Mr. Conrad Alfonso Favis, and Ms. Ynna Patricia Aquino. These included hands-on exercises on creating, editing, and managing databases as well as generating summary hazards assessment and analytics using the GeoRiskPH applications. Day 2 of training continued with discussions on Land Use, Disaster Rehabilitation and Recovery Framework, Hazards Assessments for Planning Purposes, and Identifying Priority Programs & Activities (PPAs), which were presented by DOST-PHIVOLCS Science Research Specialists, Ms. Princess Di Pascual and Ms. Mabelline T. Cahulogan, Mr. Marion Micah Tinio, DSWD Former Undersecretary, Ms. Vilma Cabrera, and OCD Civil Defense Officer III, Mr. Julius Hontiveros. Further practical applications using GeoAnalyticsPH and PlanSmart apps were also provided to familiarize the trainees in land use mapping and formulating DRR plans. Wrapping up the training program, Mr. John Aries Macaspac, Director of Systems and Productivity Bureau of Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Ms. Fides Borja, Disaster Risk Management Senior Consultant of World Bank, and Mr. Austere Panadero, Executive Director of Zuellig Family Foundation, gave lectures about Financing and Investment Requirements and Institutional Arrangements followed by a hands-on exercise. Participants then took part in a Design Thinking Activity wherein their feedback on how to improve the PlanSmart application and its succeeding roll-out sessions were gathered. Outputs from all conducted hands-on activities were also reported towards the end of the session. The training concluded successfully with closing remarks from the representatives of PlanSmart’s core team. Mr. Marlo L. Iringan, Undersecretary for Local Government of DILG, Engr. Edgar Allan B. Tabell, Chief of Central Office Disaster Information Coordinating Center (CODIX) of DILG, and Dr. Teresito C. Bacolcol, Officer-in-Charge of DOST-PHIVOLCS, collectively hoped for all of the participants to always remember the lessons they had learned from this training and encouraged them to maximize the PlanSmart application. The guest speakers also expressed their gratitude for the attendees' presence, which, in the words of Mr. Iringan, a “testament of their dedication in building more safe and resilient communities against disasters”. Lastly, Atty. Lesley Cordero, Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist of World Bank, highlighted the significance of “reaching out and hearing the voices, stories, experiences, of the different local government units, to be able to improve the application”. Atty. Cordero also made an appeal to the participants to produce an integrated rehabilitation and recovery plan in preparation for a magnitude 7.2 earthquake and to help other LGUs that have not yet received formal training on building resilience to natural disasters. Together, all the agencies involved in this program strive to continually produce programs and develop technologies that push for advanced data-gathering for comprehensive preparedness & mitigation plans and encourage collaborations in sustaining the PlanSmart Ready to Rebuild application for future building of disaster-resilient communities.