Philippine Standard Time

DOST-PHIVOLCS, in collaboration with the Batangas Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPV), recently completed a new cluster training workshop on the use of the GeoMapperPH mobile application, which served a total of 49 barangay representatives. Thirteen (13) are from the Municipality of Balete, sixteen (16) from the Municipality of San Nicolas, and twenty (20) from the Municipality of Talisay. 

The training course was held from July 4 to 6, 2023, with the goal of assisting the municipalities from the Province of Batangas in understanding and using effectively the GeoMapperPH in mapping of animals and animal facilities, and other GeoRiskPH platforms as tools for more efficient hazards and risk assessments, data collection, data sharing, and analysis in support of data-informed planning and decision-making.

GeoMapperPH mobile application, Field Maps, is a platform that enables users to collect and update real-time disaster and hazard information as well as document disaster events.

Guest speakers from OPV, Provincial Veterinarian, Dr. Romelito Marasigan, Division Chief of Regulatory Division, Dr. Krissel Ann Ragas, and Veterinarian III, Dr. Joy Sybil Rosales-Guarin, along with Talisay and Balete Municipal Agriculturists Ms. Zenaida Macatangay and Mr. Raymundo Cueto, San Nicolas Councilor Christopher Barrion, and DOST-PHIVOLCS Director, Dr. Teresito C. Bacolcol, strongly urged the participants to maximize use of the GeoMapperPH mobile app to promote proactive disaster preparedness and response. Dr. Guarin also noted that participants should not undervalue their roles and contributions because their outputs will show how many significant industries can be affected by natural disasters, thus increasing the likelihood of receiving government funding and programs since the projected impact results will emphasize on the need for immediate assistance.

After receiving a boost, the barangay representatives eagerly jumped into learning how to use GeoMapperPH. All of them were able to develop the skills needed to easily digitize building footprints and collect data in the GeoMapperPH app. The participants also did a role-playing exercise in which they simulated what they would do if they were already deployed in the field, such as conducting interviews and filling out attributes on Field Maps. Said activities were conducted to ensure that their respective fieldwork would be more effective and their building of exposure databases would be more efficient and accurate. Moreover, the GeoRisk Philippines Initiative and Biosecurity were discussed as supplemental learning activities to inform participants of additional tools and measures that can be taken to mitigate the effects of natural hazards as well as to manage the spread of animal diseases by identifying areas that are already afflicted by such diseases. Subsequently, a 14-day fieldwork took place to complete the surveying of all barangays in Balete, San Nicolas, and Talisay.

Through this capacity-building workshop, the three municipalities were given accounts in the GeoMapperPH and real-time database dashboards that can be used for hazard mapping and other LGU planning purposes. Balete, San Nicolas, and Talisay’s local planning and programming on livelihoods, livestock, and other animals' protection from natural disasters may be improved, as mapping of animals and animal facilities became possible.

This only demonstrates the impactful nature of GeoMapperPH, as more municipalities have reached out to the agency to learn more about the application’s usage. Prior to this, the DOST-PHIVOLCS previously conducted a successful training for the same province on November 3 and 4, 2022, with participants from the municipalities of Laurel and Agoncillo. The expansion further motivates the Institute to continue to train more LGUs stakeholders on the use of GeoMapperPH so that community resilience and disaster reduction throughout the country can be achieved.