UC is cited in the Best School Nationwide Category for Disaster Readiness & Preparedness for the 4th Consecutive Year

December 22, 2019

Awarded "Best School Nationwide" in Disaster Readiness & Preparedness in 2015 & 2017, UC was cited for the 4th year in a row, by Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana in an awards ceremony conducted annually by the DND Office of Civil Defense at the PICC Plenary Hall on 6 December 2019.

Secretary Lorenzana presides over the Office of Civil Defense which evaluates yearly; schools, LGUs, hospitals, private organizations; as well as civil society volunteer people's organizations. The annual awards also reviews the humanitarian assistance projects that civil groups have duly enacted & executed.

"These accomplishments are notable contributions to the national effort to build a safer, climate change adaptive and disaster-resilient Philippines worthy of emulation by our people and recognition from Gawad Kalasag," the citation read & duly signed by DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and NDRRMC Executive Director USec. Ricardo Jalad.

Gawad Kalasag, which stands for "Kalamidad at Sakuna Labanan, Sariling Galing ang Kaligtasan," is an annual nationwide search, review & evaluation conducted by the DND - National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) to honor exemplary DRRM and humanitarian initiatives of individuals, institutions, and local governments.

In addition, UC has likewise been cited for its outreach and assistance programs, resource mobilization, DRRM initiatives, as well as its innovative initiative in applying Geographic Information Science Technology in promoting public safety.

On its DRRM efforts, UC strengthened its Safety and Security Committee (UC-SSC) by institutionalizing an office on Occupational Safety and Health and consequently installing a designated Safety Officer to oversee programs focused on the well-being of students and employees. In addition, the university established the UC-SSC Operations Center (UC-SSC OpCen) which serves as the DRRM team's headquarters for disaster response and monitoring. The UC-SSC OpCen is equipped with an array of DRRM equipment such as fire suits and various gadgets that are readily accessible for use. This is in addition to UC's regular fire and earthquake drills; and DRRM and response trainings for faculty members and non-teaching staff.

On humanitarian assistance, UC's community arm Project HELEN has continued on its mission to give back through its five core areas namely: health, education, livelihood, environment, and nurturance. Project HELEN, under the leadership of former UC Vice President for Administration Dr. Leonarda R. Aguinalde, launched one of its largest projects to date: the Agro-Ecotourism Development Plan for Tublay, Benguet.

After scanning and identifying localities in the region, UC, headed by Dr. Aguinalde, voluntarily coordinated with Tublay and developed an agro-ecotourism development plan citing the municipality's potential with its natural tourist destinations and its residents' knowledge on organic farming. The UC Plan was among the eight projects selected from over 128 entries nationwide by the iLove Foundation headed by its founder and chairperson, the late Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, under its program which aims "to transform marginalized communities into viable localized economic zones."

Various national experts and private organizations assessed the community's needs and consequently provided the appropriate technology, equipment, and infrastructure to boost the municipality's tourism and agricultural capabilities. In addition, the residents received various skills development trainings thereby transforming individuals into tourism-oriented workers.

Tublay has received over Php2.92M worth of investments in professional skills training, agricultural technology and equipment, and various infrastructures such as the new Tublay Tourism Center and the Glamping Site - duly equipping the municipality with a combination of skills and infrastructure to render quality tourism services and deliver better organic agricultural products.

As a result of the extensive planning and execution of the UC Agro-Ecotourism Plan, the Municipality of Tublay has been able to generate a total income of over Php1M pesos from its tourism sites and sale of organic produce alone from January to June of 2019, surpassing its previous annual tourism income in a span of just six months.

This year, UC has launched a series of programs involving its academic units to further strengthen Tublay's agro-ecotourism pursuits. The UC College of Engineering and Architecture visited the second Glamping Site and will consequently prepare a site design after the necessary surveying. The UC College of Business Administration, College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, and College of Accountancy spearheaded the strategic planning. Finally, the College of Information Technology and Computer Science is designing a revamped Tublay tourism website to integrate ICT in its services.

Through the UC Tublay Agro-Ecotourism plan, the university envisions Tublay to develop from being a 4th Class Municipality to a 1st Class Municipality that capitalizes on its cultural, natural and agricultural resources.

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