Places who haven’t experienced horrifying weather conditions lately don’t necessarily mean that they are safe all the time. With the effects of climate change lurking on our doorsteps, it becomes crucial that we know what to do about them.

Last November 10 – 11, 2016, Davao del Norte State College’s Institute of Aquatic and Applied Sciences executed its research proposal on the Vulnerability Assessment of the Coastal Areas in Panabo City. The faculty organized a two-day workshop to introduce assessment tools to key players in the community. The participants were representatives from the Local Government Unit of Panabo (specifically from the City Environment, City Agricultural, City Engineer’s, City Assessor’s Offices), responders from the Maritime Group and Philippine Army, DNSC faculty and students, and the fisherfolks of Barangays Cagangohan and J.P Laurel.

Resource speakers for the activity were Prof. Lemuel Cardona on the Overview of Climate Change, Dr. Girley Gumanao on the Introduction of TURF (an assessment Tool for Understanding Resilience of Fisheries), and Dr. Joy Picar on the Input Matrix and Mathematical Calculation of the Tool.

In the end, the participants found out that both barangays were vulnerable to all three standard components in (1) Fisheries (because of the coastal location), (2) Ecosystem, and (3) Socio-economic. The disturbing result motivated the participants to create an action plan needed to aid the areas’ weak points. The drafted plan will be endorsed to the Local Government Unit for immediate priority on policy actions.

This kind of shared activity between the community and the college was highly encouraged by DNSC’s President, Dr. Jonathan Bayogan, who spoke of breaking the walls that long separated the academe from the public. This was also supported by Dr. Girley Gumanao (Dean, IAAS) who thanked the partners and participants during the closing ceremony and reminded them to always think of the future – both of the community and of Panabo. (end, CNL)