Information and Communications Technology Disaster Response Conference 2017

Cebu City hosted the International Conference on Information Communication and Technology on Disaster Preparedness and Response which was held at Waterfront Hotel and Casino last September 20 and 21, 2017. This was organized by Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) and Cebu’s own Central Visayas Information and Sharing Network Foundation, Inc. (CVISNet), in cooperation with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) - Region VII, the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) – Visayas Cluster II, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) – Region VII, the Office of Civil Defence (OCD) – Region VII, Philippine Information Agency (PIA) – Region VII, The Province of Cebu, Tohoku University – Japan, and the University, Philippine Information Agency (PIA) – Region VII, The Province of Cebu, Tohoku University – Japan, and the University of Aizu – Japan. This 2-day conference aimed to raise awareness in reducing the effects of disasters through a showcase of different Information Communications Technology (ICT) solutions to serve as instruments in improving communication and response in the community.

Speakers from Japan, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, USA, Sweden and other places from the Philippines travelled to the Cebu to discuss various topics on available ICT solutions and applications, best practices and future mitigation trends, along with local prime movers in the Philippines. The first day of the conference started with the opening of the local and speakers’ exhibit areas and the registration after which, the opening program that started with the invocation led by Cebu Normal University’s Choir. Before the discussions started, Mr. Baltazar Tribulano delivered the welcoming message in behalf of Hon. Hilario P. Davide III, governor of the province of Cebu, then a special message delivered by the representative of Hon. Thomas R. Osmeña, Mr. Nagiel Banacia- the Cebu City’s CDRRMO Officer. The signing of the Declaration to support Resilient ICT closed the opening program.

The first day of the conference consisted of 11 featured speakers starting with Dr. Hiroshi Kumagai, Ph.D. with his topic on “R&D Activity Overview in Disaster-Resilient ICT in Japan”. It was then followed by the talk on “Philippine ICT Initiatives during Disasters” by the DICT Undersecretary Mr. Denis F. Villorente then followed by Mr. Ramon R. Isberto, the Group Head, FVP, Public Affairs Group of Smart Communications INC. with his topic on “Value Partnership in Tech for Disprep Innovations”. Dr. Renato U. Solidum Jr, Ph.D., the Undersecretary of Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaption, was the last to discuss in the morning session, with his topic “Philippine Hazard Program (Disaster Prevention and Mitigation)”. The open forum and the press conference closed the morning session of the first day.

The afternoon session of the first day of the conference started with the first topic “Resource Unit (MDRU) for Emergency Telecommunications in Disaster” discussed by Mr. Satoshi Kotabe, the Senior Research Engineer of NTT Network Innovations Laboratories, Japan and the Executive Director of CVISNet Foundation, Mr. Jeffrey Llanto as well as Mayor Mariano Martinez of San Remigio. They covered the Philippine Perspective of the MDRU Project, as well as a testimonial of the MDRU’s capabilities in San Remigio, the MDRU Project Beneficiary. Mr. Biplov Bhandari, our featured speaker from Thailand, was the second speaker in the afternoon session, who tackled on “Sahana Disaster Management System”, followed by “HANDA – Hazard Notification, Dissemination and Awareness” by Dr. Alexander R. Madrigal of the Department of Science and Technology – Region IV-A.

Ms. Pernille Skjødt, the Managing Director of LinkAiders in Denmark, talked about “Reachi, a Resilient Communication System” and Ms. Sylvia Cadena, the Head of Programs of APNIC Foundation in Australia with her topic on “ICT Collaboration with Network Operators and Preparedness”. The last two speakers for the afternoon session were Dr. Maria Regina Estuar, Ph.D. of Ateneo de Manila University who tackled “e-Bayanihan Project” and Mr. Dann Diez of SEED4Com with “ICT to make Lastmile Communications First” as his presentation. 

The second and last day of the conference started off with Dr. Nei Kato, Ph.D., Director of Research Organization of Electrical Communication (ROEC), Tohoku University, Japan and his topic -“Advanced Ad Hoc and Mesh Networks Technologies to Facilitate Specialized Disaster-resilient Networks” followed by a discussion on “RIM: Resilient Information Management System in Network-Isolated Environment After Disasters” by Dr. Toshiaki Miyazaki, Ph.D. Regent and Dean of Undergraduate School The University of Aizu, Japan. The session then continued with Mr. Lawrence Hughes, Chief Executive Officer Sixscape Communications, Singapore, with an interesting topic on “ICT Security During Disaster” and was then followed by Dr. Joel T. De Castro Ph.D., Dean College of Information and Communications Technology, West Visayas State University, and his topic on “Decision Support System for Disaster Risk Reduction in Ilo-Ilo City”. Mr. Masugi Inoue of Global Alliance Department, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), Japan, and his talk on “NerveNet: Resilient Communication System for Regional Permanent Infrastructure and Emergency Temporary Network” and Dr. Roland Emerito Otadoy, Ph.D. from the University of San Carlos, Cebu City with “LiDAR Disaster Application” ended the morning session.

The afternoon session then kick-started with a talk on “Trends in Digital Technology Innovations for Resilience in Asia” by Mr. Josh Woodard of FHI 360, USA which was then followed by Dr. Danilo Jaque, Ph.D. the Managing Director Hydronet Consultants, Inc. and his talk on “Hydrologic Applications for Disaster”. Ms. Maria Corazon Mendoza-Akol the president of PhilNITS Corporationdiscussion and her discussion on “A Report on the JICA Funded DRRM Project of Pangasinan” and Dr. Francis Dy, Ph.D. of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. and his talk on “UCAReS– Unified Communications and Alert Response System” were the final presentations of the conference. The highlight of the last day was the demonstrations and workshop that transpired in the afternoon, after all the topics had been discussed. The demonstrations were from the Movable and Deployable ICT Resource Unit (MDRU), Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), Tohoku University, and The University of Aizu. The ICT Disaster Response Conference officially ended with the Closing Remarks given by Engr. Roberto A. Cabarrubias, President of CVISnet Foundation.

The First International Conference on Information Communication and Technology on Disaster Preparedness and Response in Cebu was proven to be a success with a good to very satisfactory overall evaluation and most of the attendees wanting to have another conference in the future. Each delegate came in the first day with open minds, hoping to learn and immerse themselves in the conference, and on the last day, they came home with a mind full of ideas, knowledge, and solutions to disaster preparedness and mitigation.