UP Cebu showcases important scientific outputs and services

| Written by Jo. Florendo B. Lontoc

A student research assistant at the media brunch exhibit presents UP Vice President for Public Affairs Elena Pernia a wild tuber which UP Cebu is studying as an alternative carbohydrate source during disasters. Photo by Bong Arboleda, UP MPRO


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.


Van Owen Sesaldo of the UP Cebu Cybersecurity Project shows Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs Rica Abad an animated graphic representing global cyber attacks at the project booth in the media brunch exhibit. Behind them, UP Cebu Chancellor Liza Corro shows UP Vice President for Public Affairs (VPPA) Elena Pernia, Special Assistant to the VPPA Teresa Congjuico, and Jamie Lyn Loristo of the Communicating Science and Technology Research and Development at UP program one of the 3D printers of the UP Cebu Fabrication Laboratory or Fablab.


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.


A projection-mapping presentation by UP Cebu computer-aided designers is the central display of the exhibit showcasing UP Cebu’s relevant scientific outputs and services. Photo by Bong Arboleda, UP MPRO


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.


Four of the five UP Cebu presenters of scientific projects form a panel for an open forum after their presentations: Computer Science instructor, Ryan Ciriaco Dulaca of Cebu Water Source Mapping and Assessment; Firecheck project leader, Aileen Joan Vicente, Richie Eve Ragas of Biodiversity and Eco-Epidemiology of Vector-Borne Diseases in the Central Visayas Region, and UP Cebu Cybersecurity Project leader, Van Owen Sesaldo. Photo by Bong Arboleda, UP MPRO


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”.


UP Vice President for Public Affairs Elena Pernia and Special Assistant to the Vice President for External Communication and Government Relations Teresa Congjuico, both of the Communicating Science and Technology Research and Development at UP program, view the presentations of UP Cebu scientific projects together with regional media representatives. Beside them are presenters: UP Cebu Philippines-LIDAR 1 project leader Jonnifer Sinogaya and Firecheck project leader Aileen Joan Vicente. Behind them is UP Cebu Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Richelita Galapate. Photo by Bong Arboleda, UP MPRO


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.