Key scientific capabilities and projects of UP Cebu, offering solutions to pressing threats and problems in the region, such as water-related disasters, fires, emerging vector-borne diseases, water scarcity, and internet vulnerability, were presented to local media on April 26, 2019 at the Performance Arts Hall on campus.
“Did you know that after the Naga landslide which was said to [have] one of the fastest search and retrieval operations in a disaster, UP Cebu’s LIDAR and CENVI were there?” UP Cebu Chancellor Liza Corro said in welcoming media representatives, as she referred to a UP Cebu environmental informatics team, whose quick mappings of the landslide site in the neighboring city right after the disaster facilitated search and retrieval operations.
“This was one of the best examples of science being applied in the real world. All our researches here are really more of solutions for real problems,” Corro emphasized.
The UP Cebu team, employing LIDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, a remote sensing method using light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure variable distances to the Earth, was able to pinpoint the location of structures buried under the Naga City, Cebu landslide debris. It is one of the expertise of CENVI or the Central Visayas Center for Environmental Informatics of UP Cebu.
The “media brunch” with UP Cebu officials and scientists was organized under a UP System-wide program, Communicating Science and Technology Research and Development at UP (CoST-UP), headed by UP Vice President for Public Affairs Elena Pernia.
Other scientific projects presented at the media brunch were: the high-resolution flood-hazard mapping of Western Visayas using LIDAR; the mapping and assessment of possible water sources on the whole Cebu island; urban fire-hazard mapping and fire-spread modeling; biodiversity and eco-epidemiology of flea and tick diseases in the region; and, the research and promotion of cybersecurity.
Aside from the presentations, media also saw an exhibit of UP Cebu programs for: nationwide resource assessment using LIDAR; improvising camera drones; geo-mapping and nutrient analysis of wild edible plants as food alternatives in disaster-prone areas in the region; digital fabrication; and, technology business incubation.
“Good science journalism can make complex, technical ideas accessible to a lay person,” Pernia said. She proposed and now heads CoST-UP, which “aims to mainstream UP’s science and technology advances into public consciousness and the nation’s development policy”.
The UP Cebu leg of its media brunch series was attended by representatives from: the Philippine Information Agency, the Bureau of Fire Protection, the Department of Science and Technology, the Commission on Higher Education, and the National Economic and Development Authority. The media outlets represented were Sunstar, Freeman, Manila Bulletin, DYAR, Cebu Citizens Press Council, ABS-CBN, Superbalita Cebu, PTV, dySS, RGMA, and Philippine Daily Inquirer-Visayas.