San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
HMES is the first international event intended at consolidating inputs and information towards the mapping of the Global Geohazard System (GGS) intergacing with the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and various Geographic Information Systems (GIS) of environmental and climate risks, for better management and responses to disasters.
When & Where
International Resource Recovery Movement
In the 1980s, the RRM founders were inspired by the resource recovery concept from Finland's FINKONSULT and the components of the Saemaul Undong model of the Republic of Korea (South Korea).
The resource recovery concept is characterized by its originators in Finland as a simple cost-saving methodology for organizations using appropriate technologies that will enable higher prevention of loss and generate greater savings either at the assembly line or in entire resource systems.
Resulting from this were studies submitted to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on modelling the Saemaul Undong in the Philippines and beginning a series of direct actions to promote resource recovery in the Philippines.
In 1990, Jose B. Martinez proposed to the DND to re-activate the Forest Ranger Battalion and requested the RRM founders to put together a study that will be submitted to the head of that agency.
From 1990-1991, the Philippines experienced two great natural disasters: the Baguio Killer Earthquake in July 16, 1990 and the Mt. Pinatubo eruption nearly one year later in June 15, 1991. In contradiction to a firm position, the RRM founders who partook in preparing the final consolidated damage report expanded the rehabilitation funds several times to allow actual rehabilitation to reach the victims. The trickle down effect in government depletes all funding for local communities due to the unmitigated taking of skim from the top levels down to the municipal and even barangay level. If actual rehabilitation had not reached the reached the real victims, severe deterioration would have visited the affected communities and the resulting further loss would have been staggering.
Relatedly, in 1992, the proponents were briefed about the harmful effects of the accumulation of billions of tons of tephra (ash, lapilli, solid chunks of rock), in the high elevation parts of Zambales, Pangasinan and other provinces in the vicinity of Pinatubo.
The source of the data was a scientist visiting from Germany to study the volcano and with whom the RRM had a brief but productive encounter. The scientist recommended the seeding of weeds on the tephra-covered elevated areas around Pinatubo. This insight was strongly suggested to Malacañang however it was not acted upon. A few months after the letter to the Office of the President, flash floods hit Pangasinan. Around eleven barangays were submerged in water and technically disappeared from the map temporarily. Lives and property were lost.
Also in the same year, the RRM conducted a survey on the impact of Pinatubo with Bulacan as a Case Study and came out with findings that one to a maximum of three out of ten people in no less than eleven municipalities of Bulacan -- mostly coastal -- excreted minor amounts of blood in their urine.
The RRM also found the potable water in these eleven municipalities, including Malolos, Bulacan (provincial capital), to be highly salinated and to be the cause of the internal affliction of some of the respondents. RRM campaigned for a solution to the saline water intrusion into the aquifers of Bulacan that was causing the high salinity content of the province's potable water.
The Congress of the Philippines was moved to resuscitate an approved and dormant billion-peso fund solely intended for the water system of Bulacan. As a result, the dormant fund of PHP1.5-Billion was reinstated into the budget in favor of Bulacan's potable water systems concern.
In the same year, RRM helped in the campaign began by the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) to stop the building of a huge bridge-breakwater from Bataan to Batangas on the premise that the project will kill Manila Bay. At the time and up to now, the deterioration of Manila Bay still need to be addressed fully but the mothballing of the super bridge-breakwater project stemmed the early demise of the golden sunset bay.
RRM also strongly advocated the stopping of indiscriminate conversion of agricultural land for industrial-commercial-residential usage. During the Kabisig National Assembly of 1992, Malacañang ordered a moratorium in the land conversion.
In 1995, RRM went into a joint undertaking with the Pangasinan network of non-government organizations led by Mr. Jose Burgos to carry out reforestation projects in the province of Pangasinan. RRM's legal holder, the non-profit Centre di Humanes et Societas, Inc. signed the agreement with the Pangasinan NGO Network and the Provincial Government of Pangasinan for the reforestation of the entire province of Pangasinan's network of forest areas to stop the massive siltation of Lingayen Bay and the degradation of the Agno Riverine System.
At the time, RRM observed that the landscape particularly in Central and Eastern Pangasinan was drastically transformed during the period between the Baguio Earthquake, the Pinatubo eruption, three to four years hence.
The linking up with the NGO network was borne out by the forecast made in 1983 by scientists from DOST research and development, Dr. Ponciano Batugal and company, that Pangasinan will turn into a desert in a span of twenty five years.
In the same year, through his own initiatives, Ambassador Leandro Verceles commissioned RRM to undertake a health audit and monitoring project under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO) of the United Nations (UN).
ECONOMIC WELFARE, PUBLIC SAFETYAND DISASTER RISK REDUCTION
In 1983, RRM prepared the EDCO-ORD PROJECT and submitted the same to then Vice Chief of Staff Fidel Valdez Ramos, an undertaking to convert idle military property into viable business centers for the private sector. The benefits for the sons and daughters of those in the uniformed services was underscored, for the private commercial industrial complexes that will be built will become job havens for these beneficaries, among many other Filipinos or even foreigners who were qualified to work therein. As a result the Light Industrial complex was set up in Fort Bonifacio and the Armed Forces of the Philippines Economic Welfare Service was established. It is now called Morale and Economic Welfare Service.
In 1989, through Gen. Batenga, RRM submitted a project proposal to Pres. Corazon C. Aquino for the establishment of a Philippine satellite information and research agency. This was envisioned to increase Philippine capacity in data com and the use of information about outer space for the Philippines' various requirements. One of the most important uses of data from outer space is about disasters and calamities.
In 1990-1991, RRM earnestly started the advocacy for a full-function geographic information system for disaster and environment protection at the Philippines' Department of National Defense (DND).
In the same year, as a function of its advocacy, the founders of RRM proposed a concept for the Rationalization of the Defense - Armed Forces organization, detailing a large number of suggestions and recommendations on how to maximize the potentials of streamlining of the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The Secretary of National Defense, Hon. Fidel Valdez Ramos, through the Undersecretary for Reserve Affairs, Hon. Victor Obillo, passed on to the RRM the determination of the Secretary to make the RRM concept the official position of the DND, RRM responded in the affirmative.
Among these activities was the promotion of Public Warning Systems (PWS) in the country. In 1992, a total number of nineteen (19) public sector agencies were enjoined to attend the 1992 PWS Seminar conducted by experts from Germany led by Dr. Peter Pfeiffer at Camp General Aguinaldo, Quezon City. This was conducted by the same organizers of the summit in cooperation with German technical assistance.Further, the advocacy for a nationwide Safety agency from Jan 1992 evolved into the Philippine Safety organization under the Department of Transportation and Communications in 1995 that became technically enacted into law as the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) after having passed the Third Reading and all the other requirements of legislation.
The proposed safety agency was patterned after the United States NTSB and Singapore’s Safety Commission. Malacañang’s then acting lady secretary of budget and management, Ms. Emilia Boncodin, returned the law back to Congress stating that she will refuse to comply with the requirements of the law because of the absence of funds for safety in the country.
Former Secretary of Transportation and Communications Vicente C. Rivera stated that while he was at Congress, then Congressman Manuel A. Roxas III and his counterpart in the Senate Senator Franklin D. Drilon were the ones who pushed hard, along with their allies, for making the NTSB bill into law.
Up to this year 2013, as this is being written, the NTSB law has not yet been implemented by Malacanang, although already a considerably huge number of questions have been ventilated about the way billions of pesos were being released outside of the bounds of the Philippine Constitution and public budget rules and regulations.
In the time of former Presidents Fidel Valdez Ramos and Jose Marcelo Ejercito (Joseph Estrada), the advocacy for safe air transport, GIS, command-control-communications-computer-information (C4I) went into full swing and RRM worked actively with specialists from the United States and not the least among them, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) while networked with Philippine corporation Rodal Management Corp.
The RRM people succeeded in helping upgrade the CAT Status of the Philippines one rank higher due to the development of the Master Plan Framework for the Development of Air Traffic Systems (ATS) in the Philippines. Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Harris BankCorp, Inc. (HBCI) under Harris Corp. (Florida) of the United States provided the initial pledges and committed to finance the Philippine group a minimum seed fund of Sixty Million United States Dollars (USD60,000,000) for the development of Philippine air traffic and air communications services.
Today, the entire Philippine aviation administration is privatized and extensively under re-engineering and development. The transport safety Board was never implemented however an Office of Transport Security modeled after the same structure under the Department of Homeland Security of the United States is in place.
At this time, RRM is undertaking a continuing advocacy in putting together members of the technical and scientific community to undertake GIS development and risk mapping for clusters of nations in Asia, Europe, Africa and other areas. This effort is called the Hazards Mapping and Environment Summit.
Through its allied organizations, RRM is now campaigning for the launching of broad-based construction of new dwellings for victims of calamities in the Philippines such as the November 8-10, 2013 Tropical Cyclone Haiyan, codenamed Yolanda. The resolve of RRM is to undertake, where applicable, the relocation of the victims to much, much safer ground. (Please see HMES Conference Paper at http://www.hazmapping.com/ release dateline - November 29, 2013.)
On December 10, 2013, a conference on the continuance of the un-launched 2010 summit will take place at the Cityland Executive Towers in Makati City, Philippines.
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