SCIENCE and Technology Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr. has highlighted the advantage of transforming the Filipino context of resilience in building climate and disaster strategies to address the continuing threats of natural hazards.

Solidum, during the opening ceremony of the of the “2024 Handa Pilipinas: Innovations in Disaster Resilience” Luzon Leg held on 3 July 2024 at the Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center in Laoag City, noted that “the frequent exposure to hazards in the Philippines suggests that we should transform the Filipino mindset and culture of resilience.”

“Resilience should allow the Filipinos to adopt, resist, transform, and recover from the effects of the hazard in a timely and efficient manner,” he said, adding: “Resilience is moving beyond merely surviving the impacts of disasters. But instead making resilience a way of life, embedded in our households, schools, communities, businesses, economy, and governance.”

He pointed out that it is not enough that Filipinos continue to have a pleasant disposition even in the face of destruction or damage.

“In most cases, Filipinos are portrayed smiling after any disaster. Mahilig magpapicture ang mga Filipino kahit mayroong baha pero nakangiti pa rin… this is associated with accepting the worst conditions. However, these norms are a deterrent to achieving resiliency as this leads to lowering the standards for the quality of life that we are supposed to have,” he added.

Solidum said the Handa Pilipinas campaign seeks to boost the resiliency of local governments through access to the latest technologies developed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and its partner organizations and presents various forums on disaster mitigation, and locally developed and market-ready technologies for disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.

The campaign likewise aims to elevate the awareness of stakeholders about the technologies that can be utilized to enhance the capabilities of local DRRM offices and equip every corner of the country – from the smallest barangay to the largest city – with the necessary technologies, tools, and knowledge to effectively mitigate, prepare for, and respond to hazards.

“Handa na po ang Pilipinas sa maliliit na trahedya. Local government kayang-kaya. But we are not prepared for large-scale events. We are there preparing but we still need to do more, that is why we have the Handa Pilipinas campaign,” Solidum said.

The celebration began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony graced by DOST Secretary Dr. Renato U. Solidum Jr., DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Engr. Sancho A. Mabborang, DOST Undersecretary for Research & Development Dr. Leah J. Buendia, and Hon. Rafael Chua Medina, representing Sen. Imee R. Marcos, DOST-TAPI Director, Atty. Marion Ivy D. Decena, DOST 1 Regional Director, Dr. Teresita A. Tabaog, and Mayor Michael Marcos Keon along with various DOST & local executives. This momentous occasion set the stage for a series of transformative dialogues and showcases.

Undersecretary Mabborang’s welcoming remarks ignited a spirit of collaboration and innovation among the participants. He emphasized the power of technology to enhance well-being, foster economic prosperity, and strengthen resilience in communities across Region 1. This sentiment was echoed by DOST-TAPI Director Atty. Marion Ivy D. Decena encouraged all attendees to push the boundaries of scientific inquiry for a better tomorrow.