April 24, 2024

As part of the continuing efforts to upgrade disaster response in the Cordillera, the Department of Science and Technology and the academe recently launched a study on rain-induced landslides.
The project, “Mulat BLISTT: Modeling and understanding landslide events in Baguio City-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay” worth P38.8 million is funded by the DOST-Cordillera.
Project leader Dymphna Javier of the University of the Philippines Baguio said the project will come up with an inventory of data on landslides in the BLISTT areas, which would better guide decision-makers on rainfall-induced landslides. The project, which started on July 22, will be completed by July 2024. 
Cordillera is frequently affected by rain-induced landslides, which are caused by heavy rain due to storms and southwest monsoon (habagat).
The information includes data on the extent of landslides, where it occurs, frequency of occurrence, and the ground conditions in these areas.
The data will be used to define the stable and unstable areas for easier identification of safe zones for evacuation sites.
The information could also help in prioritizing the deployment of landslide rehabilitation measures and infrastructure in unstable areas.
“Perhaps the study is a better understanding of what triggers landslides and if we can understand it better, we are in a better position to provide solutions. That in general, is the goal of the project,” Javier said.
The project is divided into two parts. Project one is entitled, “Generating rainfall threshold for and modeling risk of rainfall-induced landslides,” will be led by Javier with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Cordillera.
Project two, entitled, “Cordillera administrative landslide monitoring integrated toolbox”, will be led by Nathaniel Vincent Lubrica of the University of the Cordilleras and Elisabeth Calub of the University of Baguio.
Lubrica said the project will integrate existing technologies such as the Dynaslope early warning system for landslides by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, which were earlier set up in landslide prone areas in Benguet.
He said they would soon start putting up landslide sensors in the chosen barangays of the project.
The end product of the project would be turned over to the different operation centers within the BLISTT.
Acknowledging the challenge in the implementation of the data once turned over to the local government units, Lubrica said they will closely monitor the project with the LGUs.
Calub said UB will be in charge of developing the mobile applications and website where the information gathered from the project will be put up.
The application would include a mobile app for strategic evacuation, which will guide evacuees on the safe spots to go in case of earthquake or landslides.
Aside from the Mulat BLISTT project, the DOST also launched the establishment of a landslide knowledge management center for the region.
The project will be housed at the Knowledge, Training, and Resource Center UPB, which is also the implementing institution together with the DOST-Cordillera. – Ofelia C. Empian