Name of the Training Course: Disaster Management on Infrastructure (River, Road and Port)A
Training Period: 11 May 2015 - 18 July 2015
Position: Engineer III, Environmental and Social Safeguards Division, Planning Service at Department of Public Works and Highways, PHILIPPINES
Name: Maria Victoria Orlina-Lofamia
I am married to Gregory Lofamia an Electrical Engineer and am a mother of three lovely children namely Paolo, Patrick and Julia.
I am a positive thinker who always reminded others and specially myself that always look at the bright side. I do believe that everything that happen has a reason and purpose, we may not understand it now, but will see somehow the good side of everything, sometime even the misfortune of events can be a result of good fortune. We always hear that the best teacher is our experience, so do not throw away that knowledge of events it always comes in handy in solving your future problems that may arise. Let us all be open that we are here for a reason and that no people are born just to be one of the list in the national census population. Each of us have a special part on this earth so let us make our lifetime fruitful and meaningful.
Am a Lady Civil Engineer, connected to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) under Environmental and Social Safeguards Division of Planning Service. My workplace is the Central Office located in Manila, Philippines.
I choose this career for me a Civil Engineer is like a hero when you take part in one infrastructure project such as bridge, roads, buildings and highways is as if you had made a monument that you can share to everybody who uses and benefited the structures. You can tell to your child and generation to come that you had take part in something useful not only to oneself but to many.
It is my first time to visit Japan, excited and nervous. This is the first international adventure that am travelling alone. It is a four hour flight from Manila, Philippines to Kansai, Japan and this is the longest time that i will be away with my family. Am the only Filipino attending this course and its quiet sometime, that I am not using my own language. In this course I met and live for two months with the representatives from different countries namely: El Salvador (Emerson Roque, Erick Menjivar and Bernardo Garcia Prieto), Myanmar (Tinmaung Wai), Fiji (Abdul Mofid), Timor Leste (Domingo Ximenez), Serbia (Sonja Tosic), Tajikistan (Eraj Usmonov, Sayod Vazirov and Neru) and Haiti (Serge Botre). It is a lifetime experience for me to enjoy Japan and learn at the same time.
The first thing I notice are sounds of the birds in the city, the existence of many trees along the street and mountains. The cleanliness and the warmth smiles of the people I met. I stroll with my colleague Kobe City by bicycle enjoying the weather.
While in Japan in order to be productive and forget about for a moment missing my family, I make myself busy by joining activities like the visit and mingle with the Kindergarten Students of Moriguchi and also presenting my country and join with the College of Kwansei Gakuin University, Wadaiko Concert with the Osaka Prefectural Akutagawa High School Students and attend the solemn Tea Ceremony. Whenever possible I stroll around visiting places and malls with my colleagues when we are in Tokyo and here in Kobe.
In my stay here in Japan, with all our study trips and lesson about the natural disasters that the country had experienced over the past years the strong will-fullness to be back in shape after each disaster is really amazes me. The planning and construction of hard countermeasures to safeguard the first and foremost the people’s lives, environment and economy and the non-structural countermeasures, like drills, the creation of BOKOMI, TEC-Force and most specially the communities participation in these activities are a remarkable effort to minimize and if possible to have a zero casualty.
In this course, we were taken back in time of the disasters that Japan had encountered for the past years. Going to the museum and memorabilia of the natural disasters that hit the country gives me a concrete reason that the sun really always shines after the storm. Seeing what is Japan now after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995 and the continuing restoration of 2011 the Great Eastern Earthquake and Tsunami that hit Tohoku in Miyaki Prefecture, thousand of lives and property were loss in that said natural disasters, how fast and organise the rescue and restoration activities after the disaster. Learning and knowing how disaster management is taken very seriously in Japan, the costly structures like underground retarding basins, drainage channels, super river levees, sea walls, evacuation areas and many more means that the number of lives that was taken by the natural disaster then will not be repeated if not reduce the target is to have a zero casualty when the foresighted Great Nankai Through hit Japan. The value of human life cannot be measured by the amount of money spent to these structures and the continuing effort of the government to include the community on the conduct of emergency drills and information dissemination like the Hazard Map and location of nearest possible evacuation center. Disaster can not be stop from happening but the disaster it bring can be reduced or prevented.
We too in the Philippines, also experience many natural disastersThese disasters takes lives, assets, economy and hopes of the people. The hard countermeasures that I saw in Japan, if possible, I too want to have those mega structures to be built in my country, maybe existence of such projects is not yet possible at this moment and I know that the government is doing its best to prevent possible loss of lives, assets and economy whenever disaster visit the country. We all know that natural disaster has its own schedule that we cannot stop or delay its arrival, the best thing to do is to be ready and aware of what to do in case of natural disaster. During the rainy and typhoon season the media like TV, radio, newspapers and billboard are launching a commercial on how to be prepared in cases of natural disasters specially flooding which the country’s frequent problem. They are giving whistle and flashlight attached to the ID laces to the students, as a survival kit, this are very useful to call for help and illumination in case of brownouts. Broadcast of weather forecast with a reminders to the citizen to be prepared, store food and water supply in the house. The Department of Health (DoH) is using the media to remind people to stay indoors in cases of heavy rains for a possibility of flooding to prevent water borne diseases. The people who were living in the coastal and low lying areas were given early advised to go to the evacuation area and go to the higher ground to prevent casualty, if possible no rescue operation during the Typhoon to ward off any accident for the rescuers. The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) in coordination with the member Government agency will round the clock monitor the events, of the whole affected area for a possible assistance.
The assistance of technology transfer through this training of Disaster Management on Infrastructure is essential to the neighbouring countries to learn the best practice in Japan. The infrastructure countermeasures and the technic in restoration and rehabilitation of the disaster affected structures will help greatly the Civil Engineers representative of the participating countries on this said training. In this training, not only we had learn about the construction of infrastructure but also the restoration of native forest on the mountains and the use of plants and trees as an erosion control this will not only help serve its purpose but also it will give more benefit to the human race and that is a cleaner and fresh air. This is very inspiring involving the community to participate in extending help to bring back the green on the deforested mountain. The soft measures that the country is putting effort like emergency drills, the creation of BOKOMI, TEC-Force, hazard map dissemination capturing all ages to learn when and where to go to the evacuation area, the quick response and availability of supplies to the evacuees in case of disaster. The importance of CCTV and measuring equipment device to warn the residents that are vulnerable to debris flow. Learning the not so expensive solution for Unpaved Road Maintenance by Professor Makoto Kimura using the Do-nou Method. These are among the many lessons that I have learn that is useful not only for my country but also for the seven (7) countries who attended this course program. It is very important to learn these countermeasures of risk reduction affected by the natural disasters. These will not only useful in this lifetime but the generation to come.
To the People of Japan the unselfish sharing of knowledge and expertise of the very abled and respected lecturers of this course is greatly appreciated. I will come home to my country with full of knowledge concerning the Disaster Management on Infrastructure. Hoping that this training will continue, for this noble act can save lives, property and economy of other countries. Natural disaster happens everywhere, anywhere, anytime. We only share one earth, let us all help each other to make it a better place for all of us.