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Flood-prone areas now have hazard maps

UP experts Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, DREAM program leader, Dr. Alfredo Mahar A. Lagmay, Project NOAH executive director and Engr. John Louie D. Fabila, DREAM data processing chief, during their presentation at the NEC.

(October 25)—Some 100 local government units (LGUs) now have a much-needed tool to minimize the risk of disasters in their respective areas: a three-dimensional (3D) flood hazard map, free of charge, courtesy of the Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (DREAM) project of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

The maps are of areas affected by typhoons Sendong and Pablo in 2011 and 2012, respectively, and include Cagayan de Oro and Compostela Valley, as well as the flood plains or river systems of Iponan (Cagayan de Oro), Mandulog (Iligan City, Mindanao), Iligan (Iligan City), Pampanga, Davao Oriental and Marikina.

The 3D maps were generated using state-of-the-art Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology that delivers high resolution and up-to-date maps.

In a press conference held October 17 at the National Engineering Center (NEC), the DOST gave the LGUs a kit comprising optical discs of the digital terrain and surface models, flood hazard maps and guides to aid them in using the LiDAR data. The kit also included the LiDAR software’s user’s license and manual.

Lagmay, Paringit, Fabila, Engr. Elpidio Paras from Cagayan de Oro and Mark O. Cojuangco, former representative of the 5th District of Pangasinan answering questions from the LGUs and media.

Dr.  Enrico C. Paringit, DREAM program leader, said aside from disaster mitigation, the LGUs can use the LiDAR’s finer-scale elevation and surface data as well as flood hazard maps for generating land use maps in their areas, for resource inventory and assessment, for infrastructure planning and monitoring, and for governance.

Paringit, a UP Department of Geodetic Engineering professor, said DREAM started using LiDAR equipment in November 2011.

According to their website, DREAM is one of eight components of DOST’s groundbreaking Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards), the country’s flagship program in disaster mitigation.

Project NOAH is a country-wide integrated flood early warning system for communities along 18 major river systems using cutting-edge technology that is available today.

Paringit said DREAM’s flood models and outputs used data from Project NOAH’s more than 700 new weather sensors. These sensors are strategically installed across the archipelago with an integrated flood early warning system.

(Extreme left) Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, PCIEERD (Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development) executive director, together with the local government unit representatives and members of the media at the press conference.

“Ine-empower nito ang ating stakeholders, particularly our local government units, na magkaroon din tayo ng sarili nating kakayahan para makita kung sino iyung mga nakatira malapit doon sa pinangyarihan ng sakuna,” he added.

Dr. Alfredo Mahar A. Lagmay, Project NOAH executive director, Paringit and Engr. John Louie D. Fabila, UP DREAM data processing chief, also presented the latest development on Project NOAH and the DREAM program during the press conference. Lagmay is a UP National Institute of Geological Sciences professor while Fabila is a faculty at the UP Department of Geodetic Engineering.

According to Lagmay, after Typhoon Sendong (international name Washi) devastated Northern Mindanao, Visayas, and Palawan in December 2011, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III commissioned the DOST “to integrate and operationalize government-funded research and development projects of the academe related to disasters to help mitigate the effects of natural hazards in the country such as floods and earthquakes.”

As a result, Project NOAH was launched on July 6, 2012. 

Lagmay encouraged the stakeholders to effectively use the Project NOAH since the information is readily available to them. “Awareness is one step to disaster preparedness,” he said. Project NOAH may be downloaded at

100-Year Flood Hazard Map of Iligan
(Photo courtesy of DOST-DREAM Program)

Fabila, meanwhile, talked about the benefits of the free DREAM LiDAR products.  He said it is more beneficial for the LGUs to use the LiDAR system. A team of field surveyors charge approximately P6,000 per hectare and can only cover 5 to 10 hectares in one day. The LiDAR can survey up to 10,000 hectares in half a day.

Also present at the press conference were DOST Assistant Secretary Raymund E. Liboro , Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, PCIEERD (Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development) executive director; Mark O. Cojuangco, former representative of the 5th District of Pangasinan; Engr. Elpidio Paras from Cagayan de Oro, Dr. Ariel C. Blanco, Training Center for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry director, and some members of the media. —Haidee C. Pineda, images by Jefferson Villacruz