By Sharah Ibrahim
The Philippines is a country prone to frequent natural calamities. In 2022, the country topped the World Risk Report with a 46.82 world risk index. On average, 20 storms and typhoons enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility each year, with about 8 or 9 of them crossing the Philippines. Moreover, according to PHIVOLCS, earthquakes are a common occurrence, with an average of 100-150 earthquakes hitting the country every year. The country is also home to 24 active volcanoes, with Mayon, Taal, and Pinatubo being some of the most notorious. 100 to 150 earthquakes. These figures are not mere statistics; they are a reality that millions of Filipinos live with every day.
Destructive natural disasters like Typhoon Ondoy in 2009, the Bohol Earthquake in the same year, and Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in 2013 struck the Philippines. Numerous people were impacted by these events and hundreds of lives were lost. Despite previous warnings, a constant feature in these disasters was the seeming lack of knowledge and preparation. Ondoy's sudden and heavy rains caused unanticipated flooding that trapped several people inside their homes.
Similarly, the Bohol Earthquake caught the locals off guard due to inadequate infrastructure to handle the quake's magnitude. On the other hand, due to misinterpreted storm surge warnings, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful tropical cyclones in recorded history, caused confusion and led many people to minimize the threat it posed.
These tragedies have led to a reevaluation of disaster preparedness and response in the Philippines. The lessons learned emphasize the importance of understanding warnings, taking timely precautions, and having coordinated efforts between government agencies and communities.
HANDA Pilipinas: A Beacon of Hope
Natural calamities cannot be avoided, but their impact can be mitigated with awareness and preparedness. In line with this, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has relaunched its initiative called "HANDA Pilipinas," showcasing local inventions that address disasters. The exhibited technologies include flood barriers, early warning systems, earthquake-resistant structures, hazard maps available on mobile apps, unsinkable boats, mobile homes, and biomedical devices developed by local scientists who have come up with solutions for disasters and calamities. This expo serves as a platform to help these local scientists market their inventions and innovations, making their valuable contributions more accessible to those in need.
The exhibit makes its comeback after a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to DOST Secretary Renato Solidum, Jr.. HANDA Pilipinas aims to prepare communities and barangays through science and technology. It's a showcase to engage local government units, private businesses, and other agencies, emphasizing Filipino-made technologies to minimize the effects of calamities in the country.
The importance of Handa Pilipinas extends beyond technological innovation. It's about fostering a culture of preparedness, where every Filipino understands the risks and takes proactive steps to mitigate them. It's about building resilient communities that can withstand the forces of nature and bounce back stronger. It's about turning complacency into action, ignorance into awareness, and vulnerability into strength.
HANDA Pilipinas is more than an initiative; it's a movement towards a stronger, more resilient Philippines. The first leg of the Handa Pilipinas exhibition will be held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, with a focus on urban risk. Separate events will be mounted in Cagayan de Oro and Tacloban City, the latter in time for the anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
It's about embracing innovation, fostering education, and building a nation that stands strong in the face of adversity. Join Handa Pilipinas. Be part of the solution. Because when it comes to natural calamities, it's not a question of if, but when. Let us embrace the spirit of HANDA Pilipinas and work together to build a resilient nation, prepared to face any challenge.
By Sharah Ibrahim
The Department of Science and Technology - Technology Application and Promotion Institute (DOST-TAPI) recently conducted a mid-year performance review and monitoring of its 2023 performance and outlined its future plans last July 18, 2023.
The review covered a range of topics, including the status of internal and DBM-approved physical targets, Institutional 10-year Roadmap position, financial standing, and future expectations.
The process of the performance review was initiated with a message from the DOST-TAPI Director, Atty. Marion Ivy D. Decena. "Regarding the Institute's performance, the evaluation has been duly completed and submitted to the Secretary's Office," Atty. Decena stated. "I would like to announce that on the basis of that performance appraisal, it seemed that we have achieved our goal of 100% in terms of physical targets," she further added.
This statement from Atty. Decena was further validated by Ms. Janice W. Cornel, the Head of the Planning Unit. She reported that DOST-TAPI has demonstrated a strong physical performance for the first semester, aligning with DBM's output and outcome indicators. Furthermore, she provided a detailed overview of the met and ongoing implementation of targets as per the DOST-TAPI Roadmap.
Impressively, the first semester saw DOST-TAPI meet or exceed all of the DBM-approved targets. There was a 132% achievement in IP protection filing for local technologies in the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, a 120% accomplishment in commercialization and adoption by industry/community of technologies diffused supported, and an attainment of 106% in the number of pre-commercialization support provided for technologies, inventions, and innovations.
Furthermore, the Institute was able to achieve 125% from its targeted number of inventions, innovations, and technologies promoted and commercialized, accomplish 100% from the requests that were acted upon within three days, and a reach 115% from the number of technical advisory services rendered.
The Institute's financial performance was presented by Ms. Josephine Q. Reyes, the Budget Section Head. She reported that the budget allotment for CY 2023 is P177.6 Million and the obligated amount as of the first semester is P80.9 Million, leaving a balance of P96.7 Million or 54% of the total budget for the second semester. The actual disbursement was reported to be P69.6 million, achieving 66.07% for the first semester.
In terms of programmed amount in BED 1 (79.9 million) as compared to actual obligations (80.9 Million) for the first semester, the institute attained an obligation rate of 101%.
The review also included a reflection on the previous six months for the Institute to identify several concerns on some of its major processes and strategize for further improvement. A report on the Turnaround Time (TAT) of project proposals received was presented by the Citizens’ Charter Committee and possible streamlining strategies for the year were discussed. Also, the outputs from the Director's Hour, conducted with all divisions of DOST-TAPI which allowed the Director to identify and address issues and concerns within each division, were presented and conferred. Then, the Procurement Process Monitoring Team, the team created by the Director to oversee, guard and monitor the efficiency of the procurement process, reported their findings to the said process and presented their recommendations for its improvement.
Looking into the future, the review discussed Gender and Development (GAD) plans and activities, with a focus on integrating GAD initiatives into the existing DOST-TAPI programs for more effective attribution. The proposed budget and physical targets for 2024 based on the National Expenditure Program (NEP) were also presented, with a total budget of P186,090,000 projected for 2024.
Lastly, the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) outlined strategies for corporate branding, with a five-year timeline for brand building, execution, consolidation, expansion, and optimization. The DOST-TAPI brand guide was also presented.
In a message from DOST-TAPI Director, Atty. Marion Ivy D. Decena, she emphasized the importance of the mid-year performance review and the need for continuous improvement. She congratulated everyone for the hard work done in the past six months and expressed her hope for maintaining the same level of performance in the future. She also announced the initiation of the Philippine Governance System (PGS) and the continuation of the ISO QMS, which she believes will help the Institute achieve its long-term goals.
The mid-year review provided a comprehensive overview of DOST-TAPI's performance and future plans, demonstrating the Institute's commitment to continuous improvement and strategic planning. The impressive increase in key performance indicators underscore the Institute's successful efforts in promoting and supporting local technologies and innovations.