Philippines – THE municipality of Itogon would soon be able to forecast calamities and minimize losses to lives and properties.
The local government recently endorsed the conduct of a hazard assessment project, using the Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote-sensing technologies.
Itogon is one of the municipalities chosen as a pilot area for the project, which would be undertaken by the University of the Philippines-Los Banos.
The project aims to come up with environmental hazard assessment and develop a web-enabled geo-information database for hazard management.
It aims to provide foresters, upland communities and local government units (LGUs) a reliable fire predictor, assist planners managers and policy makers come up with better decisions on watershed land use and provide on-line access to hazard-prone areas and other mitigating measures.
The program seeks to prevent the loss of up to P1 billion and destruction of around 180,000 hectares of mountains due to absence of fire hazard mapping.
Records from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) show that from 1992 to 2004, forest fire incidents reached 4,242 with an estimated cost of P1 billion. This mostly occurred in the Cordillera and Regions 2 and 3.
The development of a watershed land capability evaluator meanwhile aims to increase the efficiency in the use of water, land and other natural resources.
It also would promote the use science and technology in policy and decision-making, thereby improving access to information and minimize loss of lives and property.