Two CCOUC members, Mr. Jonas Lossau and Mr. Peter Ka Hung Chan, participated in the International Conference and Service Learning Program (ISL) in Visayas, the Philippines from 28 June to 11 July 2014. The programme included a 3-day conference themed “Disaster Response, Community Resilience and The Role of Asian universities” and a 7-day community service-learning project.
Scholars, local and international NGO representatives, and government personnel presented on a wide range of disaster response and mitigation topics in the conference. In particular, Dr. Jurgenne H. Primavera, a world renowned biologist talked about the science of mangrove plantation as natural bio-shields against storm surges—the deadliest phenomenon associated with typhoons; Mr. Jerry Bionat and Mr. Rex Arnold Alamban, representative of the Philippines government and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), respectively, portrayed a holistic picture of disaster response and coordination effort within and between government organizations and aid agencies; and Dr. Ben S. Malayang III, President of Silliman University in the Philippines, gave insights into the role of universities and the development of public policies in dealing with natural disasters in the era of climate change.
Following the conference, delegates formed a total of 12 groups to visit 12 service-learning sites. These 12 communities had been damaged by typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in early November 2013 to different extents and each community has its distinctive needs as identified from preliminary assessments conducted by the programme organizers. Together with 14 delegates from the Philippines, Indonesia, Macau, and Taiwan, Jonas and Peter formed the group serving Suyac Island of Sagay City, Negros Occidental province in Central Philippines, some 600km south of Manila.
For details about the service-learning activity, please click here.