UP Baguio joined the rest of the country (and the world) in helping Yolanda victims in every way possible. Relief operations were immediately put in place primarily to receive donations of food, clothes, blankets, children’s books and toys, in addition to cash.
For at least three weeks after the typhoon donations poured in generously, courtesy of UP Baguio constituents, alumni, and other friends. Most of the donations were repacked and sent via trucks to the UP Diliman center for relief operations, while others were sent through Baguio community relief organizers who also made trips to Tacloban and other places in the Visayas.
In addition, UP Baguio also took in two students from UP Visayas so they can continue their studies: Baby June Cabacang and Gemmie Lyn Navarro, both in the BA Social Sciences program. Cabacang is a sophomore majoring in political science, and hails from Barangay Can-avid, Eastern Samar. Navarro, on the other hand, is a 4th year student majoring in psychology. She is from Barangay Caloglog, Tanauan, Leyte.
UP Baguio is also promoting disaster risk reduction and mitigation, as well as disaster preparedness and response. From January 13 to 15, UP Baguio hosted an orientation workshop entitled “Sakunang Darating, Saklolo’y Tayo Rin,” UP Padayon DRRM Orientation Course for the University. The course oriented constituents of each autonomous university on a variety of topics including disaster risk reduction and management principles, geohazard assessment of building structures, emergency response, proactive management of the muster area for evacuation, safe spaces, evacuation plans and drills, etc.
Among the speakers for this workshop were UP Padayon Coordinator Dr. Ferdinand Llanes, Prof. Dymphna Javier, Engr. Maricar Rabonza, Dr. Jesusa Catabui, Dr. Leticia Tojos, Dr. Maria Leonora Francisco, Lynne Brasileño, Dr. April Llaneta, Dr. Carlos Primero Gundran, Rodolfo Suyat, Prof. Victor Obedicen, and Prof. Rosalie Quilicol.
To better improve disaster preparedness in the long term, all barangay captains of Baguio and Benguet will also gather in UP Baguio before April this year to develop a common response to disasters in their areas. The gathering will be sponsored by UP Baguio and the Knowledge and Training Resource Center for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (KTRC). UP Baguio likewise continues to support the campaign for the Balili River System Revitalization. It is a member of the Coalition.
UP Baguio is also continuing to implement its Green Campus Policy. This includes the preservation of the present tree cover on campus and the implementation of a master suite development plan in development projects on campus.
Environmentalism is integrated in all curricular programs and proposals, including the propagation of plant and animal species in natural science classes. For campus operations, these are some of the directives: the use of low energy and high efficacy lighting, retrofitting of electrical layout, systematization of rain harvesting, reduction of paper consumption through the digitization of institutional archives, strict implementation of the smoke/alcohol/drug-free campus policy, and solid waste segregation and reduction.
Professor Costina is director of UP Baguio’s Office of Public Affairs. Email her at [email protected]