Five municipalities in Central Visayas are now trained on how to use the Risk Exposure Maps (REMs) following the virtual Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) campaign this month by the Geosciences Division of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7.

This is the second virtual IEC on Vulnerability and Risk Assessment (VRA) conducted since last year when the COVID-19 pandemic started, and travel restrictions were put in place.

“The VRA is a continuing program of the MGB related to the geohazard assessment and mapping program of the government. The bureau has been in the forefront of conducting field surveys and assessments to generate information on geological hazards,” said MGB7 Regional Director Armando Malicse.

Developed by MGB 7, REMs show the vulnerable areas in each of the local government units. Elements at risk such as population, build-up areas, and road networks were considered for the REMs which show each element’s percentage of exposure to landslides and flooding.

These are now ready for distribution to the five LGUs in the region.

“The final output of the VRA are risk exposure maps which serve as decision-making tools that the local governments can use before and after disaster planning,” Malicse said.

“The information provided by the maps can help reduce damage and prevent casualties that may happen when flooding and landslides occur in an area,” he added.

MGB 7 ensured that the maps are clearly understood by the key personnel on planning and development as well as disaster risk reduction and management at the LGU.

Other topics discussed during the Virtual IEC include National Geohazard Assessment Program, Presentation of the Updated Geohazard Susceptibility Map, Introduction to VRA Project, Methodology-Risk Exposure Assessment, Presentation of Risk Exposure Maps (REMs), and Gender Issues in a Disaster.

MGB 7 Geosciences Division Chief Al Emil Berador thanked the participation and cooperation of the participants from LGUs of Loon, Batuan, and Sierra Bullones in Bohol Province; Sibulan, Negros Oriental; and Alcoy, Cebu during the IEC.

The online event was attended by about 25 representatives and focal persons from the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO), Municipal/Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRM), Municipal Planning and Development Office (MPDO), Municipal Engineering Office (MEO), Municipal Health Office (MHO), Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO), Municipal Council, Department of Education (DepED), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Municipal Local Government Operations (MLGO), Association of Barangay Captains (ABC), Municipal Gender and Development Office (MGDO), Local Commission on Indigenous Peoples (LCIP), and Women’s Organization. (IO/MGB7)