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Heed lessons of climate change, gov’t urged

/ 08:45 AM October 27, 2014

ILOILO CITY—Social scientists and researchers have urged government officials, especially policymakers, to heed the lessons and findings on climate change and disaster mitigation to reduce dislocation and devastation due to natural disasters.

Officials and scientists of the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) acknowledged the need to transform research and study results into policies as part of efforts to address the impact of climate change through science-based approaches.

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Ricardo Babaran, UPV vice chancellor for research and extension, said here was a “real disconnect” between research outputs and the implementation of government policies on disaster mitigation and climate change.

He said UPV would enhance its linkage with Congress, local governments, government agencies and other policymakers so that research and academic studies could be integrated into policies and programs of the government.

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UPV, along with Manila Observatory, hosted a two-day international scientific conference on fisheries and aquatic sciences in Iloilo City two weeks before the first anniversary of Super Typhoon “Yolanda.”

The super typhoon (international name: Haiyan), the strongest recorded typhoon to hit land with winds reaching 300 kilometers per hour, devastated wide areas mostly in the Visayas.

It left more than 8,000 persons dead and 28,689 injured. At least 1,061 remained missing.

Yolanda also destroyed 476,705 houses and damaged 557,813 others or a total of 1,034,518 houses in the Visayas, according to data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The conference involves discussions and presentations on research conducted in areas devastated by the super typhoon as well as similar experiences in other countries and areas.

The conference, which started on Wednesday, had   200 participants from eight countries including the United States, Japan, Spain, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Liberia and the Philippines, according to Rodelio Subade, UPV professor and conference chair.

UPV chancellor Rommel Espinosa said the super typhoon also provided opportunities for research to better prepare for natural disasters.

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Aside from research on the impact on coastal communities, studies are also needed to help develop institutional preparedness, according to UPV professor Pepito Fernandez.

Fernandez cited the “very poor” coordination among, between and in various levels of government agencies and offices in responding to the disaster.

“There is a need for an integrated and coordinated scientific and institutional policy to face the challenges posed by climate change, natural disasters and multilevel development in archipelagos and islands,” according to a conference briefer.

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