Philippine Standard Time

DOST-PHIVOLCS conducted a training on the “Development of Community-Based Early Warning System for Tsunami-Prone Areas of the Philippines using REDAS EDM, TsuSIM and ETAM for Moro Gulf Stakeholders”.  This is the fourth in a series of tsunami preparedness trainings being conducted by PHIVOLCS REDAS Team for tsunami prone communities since 2019.  Earlier batches were done for the Philippine and Manila Trenches. Training batches are grouped according to the associated trench system in order to foster interaction against a common threat.  For this batch, the target stakeholders were the LGUs and stakeholders facing the Cotabato Trench in the Moro Gulf region.  It can be recalled that the Moro Gulf region was the heavily affected region when the 1976 earthquake and tsunami happened.   The training was headed by the PHIVOLCS Director Dr. Teresito C. Bacolcol, Associate Scientist and REDAS Program Coordinator Dr. Maria Leonila P. Bautista, and REDAS Course Advisers Dr. Bartolome C. Bautista, Ishmael C. Narag, and Engr. Angelito G. Lanuza. The lectures and hands-on exercises were discussed by speakers and facilitators from different divisions of the institute, namely, Dr. Ma. Mylene M. Villegas, Dr. Rhommel N. Grutas, Joan C. Salcedo, Engr. Dave Rivera, Bhenz Rodriguez, Robelyn Z. Mangahas-Flores, Analyn Aquino, Jordana Marie L. Argamosa, Ian P. Javier, John Deladia, Engr. Noel C. Rosario, Jr., Sarena P. Tarongoy, Engr. Hannah Joy D. Torio, Engr. Jose Vincent E. Cruz, Conrado Alfonso M. Favis, Trisha Marie Morado, Jan Van Oliver Q. Samorano, Lemuel Austin P. Constantino, and Christian Jan I. Alonzo. A guest speaker from Office of Civil Defense, Aurora May P. Cabañeros, gave a lecture on Exercise Design. Other PHIVOLCS personnel Mabelline T. Cahulogan, Richard Sulit, John Harold B. Tabuzo and Lyle Camus also joined the training as technical support. (Fig. 1).

The five-day training was preceded by the installation and pre-training orientation conducted on May 30-31 through Zoom to install the REDAS Earthquake and Tsunami Alerting Tool (ETAM), REDAS Tsunami Hazards and Impact Simulation Module (TsuSIM), SQLite, and other associated tools such as QGIS software. The participants were also taught to sign in to REDAS Exposure Data Mapper (EDM) through GeomapperPH. A total of 44 ETAM v2.6.6 license keys, 44 TsuSIM v1.9g license keys and 44 GeomapperPH account credentials were issued to the participants. Nine of the participants are from provincial local government units (PLGUs) of Lanao del Norte, Maguindanao del Norte, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and Zamboanga del Sur. Eighteen of the participants are from municipalities and cities of Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, City of Cotabato, Maguindanao del Norte, City of Isabela, and Lamitan City, Basilan, Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga City, Kumalarang, Pagadian City, Pitogo, San Pablo, Tabina, and Tukuran of Zamboanga del Sur. Most of the participants from Zamboanga del Sur also participated in the REDAS Modules 1-3 Training for Zamboanga del Sur conducted last May 8-13, 2023. Twelve participants from national government agencies (NGAs) also participated in the training, namely, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) IX, MOST (Ministry of Science and Technology) BARMM, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Central Office, Region IX, X, XII and BARMM. Three guest participants from the province of Batangas and two participants from the SOEPD of the institute also joined the training.

The first two days of the face-to-face training (June 5-6) were allotted to the REDAS Exposure Database Development and REDAS ETAM. The participants were able to digitize a total of 1179 buildings and surveyed 136 buildings in Quezon City and Pagadian City GeoMapperPH layers. A building survey exercise was also conducted, and the participants were able to experience foot survey in Brgy. South Triangle, Quezon City using the mobile version of the REDAS EDM through GeomapperPH tool - Field Maps (Fig. 2). Buildings surveyed in coastal barangays of Pagadian City, particularly, Brgy. Santiago (Poblacion) were used in the Tsunami Impact Assessment feature of TsuSIM.

During the REDAS ETAM session of the training, the participants were taught the basic features of the tool such as Manual and Automatic downloading of earthquake data from three different sources. The tool is useful in monitoring earthquake and tsunami events not only in the Philippines, but also around the world. Some participants signified interest in installing this tool in their operation centers. The participants were also taught how to report intensities based on the PHIVOLCS Earthquake Intensity Scale (PEIS) using the ETAM reporting feature. Other advanced features of the tool were also introduced to the participants such as (A) downloading and plotting of focal mechanisms (beach balls) of recent or historical earthquakes, (B) calculating of ground shaking intensities up to barangay level, and (C) simulating of Liquefaction and Earthquake-Induced Landslide potential based on a selected earthquake event scenario (Fig. 3). These advanced features are important in the rapid assessment and prioritizing of resources and response to certain barangays of highest computed intensities or liquefaction/earthquake-induced landslide susceptibilities.

Day 3 of the training was spent on lectures and hands-on activities in familiarizing about the features of TsuSIM. Participants were asked to simulate a tsunami-generating M8.1 earthquake scenario with an epicenter occurring along the Cotabato Trench Segment 2. The participants took note of the maximum wave heights and arrival times of the simulated tsunami scenario in their own localities (Fig. 4). These details were then considered in the tsunami evacuation planning of a particular barangay.


For the fourth day of the training, the participants and facilitators performed the duck, cover and hold position during the conduct of the 2nd Quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED; Fig. 5A). Lectures and hands-on exercises continued after joining the drill. Exploring the other features of TsuSIM continued in the fourth day of the training. Evacuation maps from selected barangays were presented and fruitful discussions ensued. Inputs from facilitators and co-participants were received to further improve the tsunami evacuation map of each selected barangay (Fig. 5B-C). Exposure data in Pagadian City collected from the building survey exercise of the participants were used in the impact assessment due to the M8.1 earthquake scenario. Out of 54 data managed buildings, 29 are Damage Level 3, 10 are Damage Level 2, 1 is Damage Level 1, and 14 are Damage Level 0 (Fig. 5D).


During the last day of the training, culmination of all learnings was done through the presentation of LGUs of tsunami ready indicators and way forward discussions of action plans. The 12 Indicators for UNESCO IOC Tsunami Ready Recognition form was answered by the participants. They assessed their readiness if and when a tsunami event occurs in their own localities (Fig. 6). The NGAs such as OCD, DOST, and MOST also gave inputs and pointed out their roles in the readiness and preparedness of their respective areas of responsibilities. Participants also mentioned their initiatives in populating their own exposure database to further refine impact assessment data and improve their tsunami evacuation plans.  79% of the participants were very satisfied with the conduct of the training while 21% of them assessed the training as satisfactory.