DOST scientists receive AFP 'Gawad sa Kaunlaran'
MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) awarded the “Gawad sa Kaunlaran" medal and ribbon to 3 scientists from the Project Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (Project NOAH) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
They were recognized on Tuesday, December 27, for working with the AFP and helping prepare residents of Calayan, Batanes, against typhoon hazards during the “All-in-One Bayanihan in Calayan Group of Islands,” a 4-day training held from July 24 to 29, 2016.
The commander of the AFP Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom), Lt Gen Romeo Tanalgo, handed the award to DOST Executive Director Dr Mahar Lagmay, and geologists Peter Khallil Figueroa Ferrer and Carmille Marie Escape. Tanalgo was also with the Project NOAH team when they visited Calayan, Batanes in July.
During the 4-day training, Project NOAH lectured the residents about storm surges and landslide-prone areas, and distributed hard copies of hazard maps to the community. According to Lagmay, the project was spearheaded by GoShare and AFP Nolcom.
“The bayanihan was composed of a big group. It happened few months before Typhoon Ferdie (Meranti) and Typhoon Lawin (Haima). Since maps were distributed by Project NOAH, locals found out that the recent evacuation area was in the danger zone. They decided to transfer to another area. When the typhoon struck, that evacuation area was damaged. People were able to spare their lives from the danger through the maps,” Lagmay added.
The AFP’s Gawad sa Kaunlaran is the second to the highest distinction given to citizens and government officials in accordance with socio-economic and other non-combat activities.
For the awardees, the recognition only inspired them to help more communities prepare for disasters.
“To receive the Gawad sa Kaunlaran medal is an honor for Project NOAH because it shows that we are truly passionate in our mission to provide communities open access to accurate and reliable hazard maps for a disaster-free Philippines,” Ferrer and Escape said. – with reports from Arlit Janry C. Parlero/Rappler.com