Embarking on a quest to map out the natural resources of the country, the Phil-LiDAR 2 program, an attachment of the Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (DREAM) program, was launched by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The program involves identifying resources for agriculture, coastal, forest and rivers, and potential areas for renewable energy production through the use of Light Detection and Ranging System (LiDAR). Thus, with the complexity associated in developing a nationwide resource mapping system, the participating higher education institutions (HEIs) in Luzon under the program were convened in the first Phil-LiDAR 2 Luzon Cluster Colloquium to harmonize and share best practices among its different project components.

The two-day event was held in Fersal Hotel, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan and was hosted by the University of the Philippines Los BaƱos' (UPLB) Phil-LiDAR 2 team. It was attended by different project leaders and their research personnel from the participating HEIs from Luzon.

"DOST researchers look deeper into the benefits of available food materials to develop emergency foods that do not only aim to instantly fill hungry stomachs especially in disaster-stricken areas but also provide nutrients for everyday needs."

Let's face it. The Philippines will always face natural disasters and calamities due to its geographical location and natural makeup. These will always pose major setbacks to the country and rebuilding disaster-stricken areas will also always be a challenge.

One of the immediate tasks in responding to disasters is providing food and nutrition tovictims who are not only physically battered but also emotionally and economically. Being in these sensitive situations, there is a need to consider all factors that would hasten the rebuilding process. While it is always welcome to send food and other necessities to disaster areas, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is making a difference by providing food that are not only instant but also full of the required nutrients that are needed by victims especially during disasters. According to UNICEF, natural disasters together with over-reliance on rice and low levels of breastfeeding have left Filipino children among the most malnourished in South East Asia.

An Anti-Microbial Water Filter for EveryJuan

Researchers at DOST are excited about their newly-developed anti-microbial water filter technology that uses local clay material.

Water, water is everywhere, so goes a nursery rhyme. But did you know that the Philippines, known to be a water-surrounded country, has still areas deprived of clean drinking water even outlying areas that are nearby water bodies? To further confirm this, the country's main sources of freshwater are rainfall, surface water which embrace water bodies like rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, and groundwater. There are 18 major river basins and 421 principal river basins in 119 proclaimed watersheds located in the country. It also has 79 lakes covering an area of 1,830 square kilometers or 0.61 percent of the national area. The Philippines also possesses groundwater reservoir of 1 about 50,000 square kilometers as part of the 14 percent of the national water resource potential.

What is even more mind-boggling are the following statistics. The 2002 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey performed by the National Statistics Office (NSO) reported that 20% of the total population or 3.2 million families have no access to potable water. Moreover, according to DILG, there are 432 waterless municipalities or 1.5 million households outside Metro Manila have no access to safe drinking water in 2010. Municipalities with less than 50% service coverage are identified as 'waterless municipalities'.

A newly-developed portable eco-friendly septic system enhanced with organominerals meant for disaster areas is also applicable in condominiums and other housing projects.

Following the many big disasters that happened in the country, the DOST resolved to look at rehabilitation measures and programs on a macro scale, taking into consideration all scenarios and looking at possible S&T interventions for rehabilitation. The immediate need for relief or emergency food has been addressed and the DSWD has started to order in bulk DOST-developed emergency foods for future eventualities. Another immediate problem is wastewater and sanitation in communities where households are displaced from their private homes. For this, the DOST saw the need for an efficient sanitation management to address the vulnerability and risks caused by sanitation problems particularly in temporary shelters.

Mr. Rolando A. Yanquiling of DOST-PCIEERD (center) with Dr. Samuel T.M. Tan, President of The Institute of Management Specialist (UK) - Malaysia Chapter (left) and Dr. Mohd Syazwan, Chief Executive Officer of the Infrastructure Enviro-Water Management SDN. BHD.(right)

In its commitment to achieve excellence and continuous improvement of its core business processes and services for its clients and partners at all times, the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development, through its delegate, Mr. Rolando Yanquiling, participated in the Professional Diploma in Total Quality Management (TQM) Programme last November 16 to December 16, 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Staying true to PCIEERD's core value of upholding excellence in work, Mr. Yanquiling, PCIEERD Quality Management System (QMS) Coordinator, even bested 16 other delegates from Asia and Africa and received the Best Participant Award during the programme's closing ceremony held last December 15, 2014 at the Hotel Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Selection of Best Participant Award was done through the meticulous assessment of the participants' exercises, outputs and examinations. The said award entitles him to a membership to The Institute of Management Specialists (UK).