MANILA - Several innovations to address disaster preparedness and mitigation were featured by the Department of Science and Technology in observance of the National Disaster Resilience Month.
Among these technologies and innovations showcased at the "Handa Pilipinas: Science, Technology and Innovation for Safer Philippines" virtual presser were the Coco Patch, Mobile Home, Tropical Cyclone Tracker, and Mobile Command Post and Training Trailer Tent.
The brains behind CocoPatch is Denver Chicano, who formerly worked as a nurse at the Burn Unit of the Philippine General Hospital.
"I've seen the need to ease the pain, especially nung mga may sugat, kaya naisipan kong i-develop yung product. Ang napili kong material to use is yung coconut because basically yung coconut especially monolaurin, has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and antifungal property," he explained.
Chicano wanted to be able to provide an alternative wound dressing that is Philippine-made since most dressing used by hospitals are imported.
The CocoPatch, which is considered hypoallergenic, absorbs the contamination of the wound, hastens the healing process, and helps it heal on its natural course. It can be applied to all types of wounds like bed sores and diabetic wound.
Chicano explained: "Sa sugat, pag nilagay mo siya, hindi sya araw-araw na pinapalitan. Three days siya, at sinisipsip niya yung nana. It cleanses the wound. It also gives comfort to the patient kasi malamig siya kapag nilagay."
The product can be included in first aid kits and emergency GO Bags. It can be useful in hospitals barangay health centers, and schools, and for emergency responders.
Other products are currently undergoing research and development such as Vermac Spray gel, which aids in wound healing, and CocoGel Antiseptic Sanitizing Spray, used to aid alcohol for prolonged protection against viruses and germs.
The Mobile Home created by Garry Vazquez is another innovation that will be very useful not only for disasters and calamities but for the current pandemic the country is facing.
A Mobile Home is a flexible unit that is very easy to move from one place to another. It features a living room, comfort room, a kitchen and a bedroom, and this can be customized to suit the user.
Vazquez said: "In case na nagkaroon ng disaster, ready ka na. Katulad ngayon COVID, gumawa tayo ng malilit na trailer, Mobile Home. Kapag tinamaan ka ng COVID, you have to isolate yourself. It being mobile, di, pwede ka dun mag-isa. While you're there for 14 days, you are in the comfort of your own home. And after nun, gumaling ka, i-sanitize mo."
Mobile Homes can also serve as a portable kitchen, or even clinic in times of calamities.
"Ang disaster resiliency is very important being strong, being able to stand up, being able to get back. We have to accept the fact that we are an island country at the middle of a big ocean. Every year, ilang bagyo ba ang dumadaan sa atin from letter A-Z, 'wag kayong matakot," Vazquez added.
Another similar innovation is the Mobile Command Post and Triaging Trailer Tent developed by Dennis Abella.
This is a facility which officers with key personnel can use to plan, direct, coordinate and control their forces in times of emergency.
Abella explained: "Ito yung mga dini-deploy namin sa mga LGU post disaster o anumang government agency. Ito rin po ang ginagamit for the rescue effort."
Other key features of the Mobile Command Center is the air-conditioned control room and conference room. It also has a kitchen and pantry room as well an independent shower/portable toilet.
"Ito pong Mobile Command Center, kahit po maubusan ng kusina, wala pong problema kasi pwede pa rin tayo mag-operate dahil sa solar and wind power," Abella added.
Mobile Command Center is also used for communication and surveillance that is equipped with camera, weather station, a drone and a satellite router.
To improve PAGASA's weather forecasting capabilities, Dr. Marcelino Villafuerte discussed the agency's new initiative which is providing extended-range Tropical Cyclone Forecast in the Philippines.
Aside from giving the usual 5-day weather forecast and 5-day tropical cyclone forecast, PAGASA will soon be able to provide a 2-week forecast.
PAGASA Senior Weather Specialist Dr. Marcelino Villafuerte explained: "Sinubukan namin magbigay ng forecast ng additional two weeks para may impormasyon po kung saan ang mga lugar ang maaapektuhan in the next 14 days. Maging farmer man tayo, maging businessman or maging decision maker, in the next two weeks kaya, alin kaya yung mga maaapektuhan sa atin kung sakaling magkaroon ng bagyo."
The weather bureau will continue conducting further studies and research before they will be able to include this information on its website.
The DOST hopes that through science, technology and innovation, the country would be able to reduce the possible impacts before various threats occur, and be able to prepare and respond timely and properly.
Dr. Renato Solidum, Undersecretary for Scientific and Technical Services and OIC of the Office of the Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change, said:" "We are proud of our Filipino researchers and inventors. These innovations are proof that we are not always victims of disaster but actually we can be victors over these various threats."
The DOST hopes that the innovations, products and services will be shared so that the public, communities, local government units and organizations are made better prepared and safer.
"Dapat tayo magtulungan, paigtingin ang ating pagsasama-sama sa tulong ng agham at teknolohiya, nang makamtam natin ang ating hangarin na maging ligtas ang ating mga pamayanan at bansang Pilipinas," Solidum said.