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April 28-29, 2016, Iligan City-– Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) successfully hosted the recently concluded Phil-LiDAR 1 program second Mindanao Cluster Conference with the theme “Flooding to Riches: Translating Flood Water Resources.”

Phil-LiDAR 1 Program or the “Hazard Mapping of the Philippines using LiDAR” is one of the offshoot programs of the Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (DREAM) program launched by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in 2014. It makes use of the most advanced state of the art technologies such as LIDAR, SAR and other remote sensing and GIS technologies to produce up-to-date, detailed, and high-resolution three-dimensional (3-D) flood hazard maps and water level forecast system for the remaining 2/3 of the Philippine river systems or 257 minor river basins nationwide that are prone to flooding. It covers data acquisition, integration, archiving, distribution, and capacity building of the program. 

Professor Alan E. Milano, Project Leader of Phil-LiDAR 1 in MSU-IIT opened the program and emphasized the importance of the project especially in Mindanao. He said that the data sets which the program generates are extremely useful in disaster risk management in their area. This was seconded by Prof. Maria Sheila K. Ramos, Assistant Dean of the College of Engineering in her welcome remarks on behalf of Atty. Edgar Alan Donasco, Dean of College of Engineering. She mentioned that the Phil-LiDAR program should have existed before Typhoon Sendong, one of the strongest typhoon which hit Iligan City. “If Phil-LiDAR program is ongoing by then, disasters during that time would not happen.” Moreover, Dr. Jinky B. Bornales, Vice Chancellor for Research for MSU-IIT also delivered her wishes for the sustainability of the program. 

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Professor Alan E. Milano, Project Leader of Phil-LiDar 1 in MSU-IIT delivering his welcome remarks.

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Prof. Maria Sheila K. Ramos, Assistant Dean of the College of Engineering and Dr. Jinky B. Bornales, Vice Chancellor for Research for MSU-IIT deliver their messages to the participants of the conference

During the conference proper, speakers from different sectorsdelivered their lectures on the conference theme. Ms. Aniata R. Fortich, Officer-In-Charge of PAGASA Mindanao Regional Services Division talked about the current and future programs and projects of DOST-PAGASA, the weather bureau of the country. 

Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, Phil-LiDAR 1 Program leader then talked about how to transform menaces into wealth. He said that data sets gathered from the program can be used for infrastructure planning and design. He added that there are more applications that can be explored and created from the program’s output. 

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Ms. Aniata R. Fortich, Officer-In-Charge of PAGASA Mindanao and Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, Phil-LiDAR 1 Program Leader while delivering their lectures during the conference.

Engr. Rodrigo Y. Dicierdo, Supervising Engineer from the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) also discussed the use of flood waters to rice land irrigation. On the other hand, Engr. Aldrin S. Albano, Engineer for Planning and Design from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) introduced the water convergence programs of DPWH. An open forum was conducted after the lectures. 

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Engr. Rodrigo Y. Dicierdo, Supervising Engineer from the National Irrigation Administration (NIA)  and Engr. Aldrin S. Albano, Engineer for Planning and Design from the Department of Public Works and Highw­­ays (DPWH) eagerly answer questions from the audience.

In closing, project presenters from universities implementing the Phil-LiDAR 1 program in Mindanao gave updates on their projects and shared practices as reference. The universities are as follows: Ateneo de Zamboanga University (AdZU), Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT), Central Mindanao University (CMU), Caraga State University (CSU) and University of the Philippines – Mindanao (UP-Min).

The Phil-LiDAR 1 program is being monitored by PCIEERD and is funded by DOST.