PlanSmart Ready to Rebuild Regional Training for CALABARZON & BARMM

April 25, 2023

by: Elynrae Soriano

The PlanSmart Ready to Rebuild training series is in full swing as it reaches its fourth roll-out session on April 25-27, 2023 at Taal Vista Hotel, Tagaytay City. This training leg was privileged to serve 125 disaster risk reduction management officers, data managers, planning officers, and other technical staff involved in disaster rehabilitation and recovery. Ninety-eight of them came from CALABARZON along with Region IV-A DOST, DILG, NEDA, and DHSUD, and twenty-seven are from BARMM, including the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD), and the Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (READI). Each one of them was supported and warmly greeted by the DOST Secretary, Dr. Renato Solidum, Jr., OCD Rehabilitation and Recovery Management Service Director, Mr. Harold Cabreros, World Bank Operations Manager for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand, Mr. Achim Fock, One Meralco Foundation, Inc., President, Mr. Jeffrey Tarayao, DOST-PHIVOLCS Director, Dr. Teresito C. Bacolcol, OCD – CALABARZON Regional Director, Ms. Maria Theresa Escolano, OCD Information, Training, and Advocacy Division Chief. Mr. Ronniel Jayson Mago, and World Bank Senior DRM Specialist, Ms. Marilyn Tolosa-Martinez. Sec. Solidum, in his keynote message, urged everyone to seize the opportunity of maximizing smart technologies such as the PlanSmart and GeoRiskPH applications because they contribute to the people's well-being, the nation's wealth creation and protection, and the development of climate and disaster resilience. This also prompts him to advocate for science and technology even more, as he claims: "Sa siyensya at teknolohiya, buhay ay ligtas at payapa, sa siyensya at teknolohiya, negosyo tiyak kikita, sa siyensya at teknolohiya, industriya a-arangkada, sa siyensya at teknolohiya, buhay natin ay gaganda." Additionally, PlanSmart is revolutionizing rehabilitation and recovery planning in the Philippines by providing Rehabilitation and Recovery Plans (RRPs) before disasters strike, helping people to better prepare for hazardous events. This is possible because, like the GeoRiskPH platforms, the application leverages the NGAs’ hazards and socio-economic information, the location of health and school facilities, and LGUs’ exposure information. Hence, the optimization of the application is strongly encouraged. In this regard, participants eagerly studied the process of using GeoMapperPH for gathering baseline data and building exposure databases; conducting hazards assessments using local administrative boundaries; and utilizing PlanSmart for formulating Rehabilitation and Recovery Plans (RRPs) during the 3-day learning activity in an effort to build the skills necessary to immediately fulfill their commitment of ensuring the safety of their respective communities. According to them, the PlanSmart application is versatile, easy to use, and can quickly generate hazard reports and analyses. They also recommended that PlanSmart have offline and data validation features, as well as additional options for disaster events and implementing agencies, to help make the platform more sustainable. This kind of responsiveness, involvement, and support for such projects by participants has always encouraged PlanSmart's primary developers to share this automated planning tool with as many people as possible. To this end, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), comprised of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the World Bank, and the One Meralco Foundation, are committed to ensuring that PlanSmart meets the needs of its stakeholders and help more local governments build safer and more resilient communities. On that note, the agencies hope to see everyone, old and new, at the upcoming regional training for the Bicol Region in Legazpi City in June.