Disaster Preparedness

This section will narrate my own experience in the planning of disaster preparedness projects in the Department of Agriculture. From a meeting I attended presided by then Undersecretary Carlos Fernandez who proposed to transform the Cropwatch Project, a component of the Agricultural Support Services Project, I started to become interested in disaster preparedness planning. The meeting I attended intended to establish a war room in the Department of Agriculture that would employ statistical forecasting using the emerging information technology. While in graduate school three years later, I submitted an essay on disaster preparedness. It was in July 1998, when a copy of a handwritten note from President Estrada was passed to me, and I took the lead role in packaging the national La Nina Action Plan according to the requirement of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). President Estrada already ordered the DBM to release 3.8 billion Pesos for the impending La Nina climatic phenomenon. The DBM initially released 1.2 billion Pesos for the action plan. However, La Nina did not happen.

In the year 2000, there was again a possibility of the occurrence of El Nino. While assigned in the Department of Agriculture, then Special Assistant for Agricultural Modernization Angelito Sarmiento asked me to prepare a concept paper for El Nino. I drew up a disaster preparedness business model that transforms the problem of the scarcity of water brought by the El Niño climatic phenomenon into opportunities. These opportunities utilize agricultural technologies and management strategies that utilize scarce water resources during the drought to be more productive.