To be able to identify the participation of Bicol University (BU) in the creation of Philippines EDEN (Extension Disaster Education Network), members of US EDEN arrived in Legazpi City for a two-day visit.
On September 18, the delegation made a courtesy call to BU President Arnulfo M. Mascarinas represented by Vice President for Academic Affairs Helen M. Llenaresas. A forum was conducted in the afternoon, participated in by the various partners of Bicol EDEN.
In her welcome remarks, Llenaresas expressed her hope to craft a better strategy on how the network can be improved to be able to serve communities better.
Albay Governor Joey Salceda emphasized on the derivation of knowledge pertaining to food security in the midst of climate change through collaborative efforts among local and international agencies.
Beverly Samuel of US Department of Agriculture informed the audience that the organization's primary aim is to reduce impact of disasters. With Philippines EDEN, she identified that it shall provide technical support in disaster mitigation endeavors.
Director Antonio Payonga of Extension Service Center presented the experience of Bicol EDEN upon its creation in 2010. He also presented the objectives of the network which centered on identifying strategies on disaster management and creating linkages in the region. Currently, the network has grown and is composed of 40 institutions and agencies.
Director Payonga presented the experiences of Bicol EDEN during the visit of the delegates of US EDEN. (Photo courtesy of Ma. Elma L. Mirandilla/ ESC)
Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal emphasized the importance of the linkage with US EDEN in the information education communication campaign of the city as one of its strategies in attaining zero casualty in relation to disasters.
Sharing of best practices through an open forum ensued. The following agency representatives participated: Bureau of Fire Protection V, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology V, Albay Provincial Safety Emergency Management Office, Philippine Army, Commission on Higher Education V, and Bicol University.
Keith Tidball of Cornell University appreciated the show of commitment illustrated by the increased attendance in the forum. Samuel was impressed on how the region has convened a team which will prepare its people for disaster response.
From left to right: Vicente Dayanghari, DA-ATI; Vilma Patindol, DA-ATI; Ma. Teresa Cusico, DA-ATI; Joey Salceda, Albay Governor; Beverly Samuel, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture; Keith Tidball, US EDEN; Virginia Morgan-White, US EDEN; Helen Llenaresas, BU Vice-President for Academic Affairs; Amelia Dorosan, BU Vice-President for Administration; and Antonio Payonga, BU Extension Service Center Director. (Photo courtesy of Ma. Elma L. Mirandilla/ ESC)
BU's VP for Adminsitration Amelia Dorosan, who was also present in the forum, declared that disaster mitigation is an international imperative as well as a personal and family responsibility. She emphasized on the need to "pull our acts together" and how to go forward from hereon.
The half-day forum was hosted and facilitated by Agnes Nepomuceno of BU College of Arts and Letters.
The delegation also took a tour of the different tourist attractions in the city. They left Legazpi City on Sunday, September 20th. (Ma. Elma L. Mirandilla/ ESC)