NAMRIA competed and won a grant from the Local Government Academy (LGA) of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the project entitled, “Geospatial Information Monitoring System to Support Environmental Planning, Conservation and Management of a World Heritage Site – A Case Study of Banaue, Ifugao.” The PhP 300,000.00 grant was awarded in October 2016. Lodged in the Geospatial Database Management Division of the Geospatial Information Systems Management Branch, the project aims to assist the local government unit (LGU) of Banaue in the monitoring, inventory, management and conservation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces by designing an area and issue-based Geospatial Information Monitoring System. The objectives centered on two main project activities, namely: (a) training and capacity building on geographic information system (GIS) and (b) initial database design for a Geospatial Information Monitoring System. Banaue was selected as the project site as it has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the municipality, namely: the Batad and Bangaan Rice Terraces.
Since its inception, the project team led by Engr. Rosalyn Sontillanosa has made significant accomplishments including the formal briefing sessions with the Provincial Government of Ifugao and the Municipality of Banaue. These sessions were held in October 2016 during the project team’s initial field validation visit to the Ifugao Cultural Heritage Office, the DILG-Ifugao Field Office, the Provincial Planning and Development Office of Ifugao, and the Sangguniang Bayan of Banaue. Courtesy calls cum project orientations were also conducted with Vice Governor Jose Jordan Gullitiw and Mayor Jerry Dalipog. In each of these presentations, Engr. Sontillanosa emphasized the importance of employing geospatial information and technology on current conservation efforts of these world-renowned sites. The stakeholders responded with resounding support as the increasing damages in the rice terraces and the adjacent areas pose socioeconomic and environmental concerns to their constituents.
Engr. Sontillanosa (third from right) during the key informant interview with the BRTRO staff
Last 21-25 November 2016, the project team conducted the Basic GIS using Quantum GIS (QGIS) Training Program with selected Banaue LGU officials and staff from various offices, including the Office of the Mayor, Municipal Engineering Office, Banaue Rice Terraces Restoration Office (BRTRO), Municipal Assessors Office, Municipal Planning and Development Office, and the DENR-National Greening Program Local Coordinating Office, among others. The training program was customized as the modules were injected with the data holdings sourced from Dr. Harold Conklin – an American anthropologist who published an in-depth study of the Ifugao Rice Terraces in the 1960s. Aside from basic map appreciation, detailed lectures on map digitization, georeferencing, geodatabase and geoprocessing tools were presented – to help build the capacities of all participants in managing data using GIS.
Basic GIS Using QGIS Training
The five-day training was capped off with messages of appreciation from the participants. Each of the offices realized the pressing need for the use of geospatial information and technology not only for current conservation efforts, but also for their mandated duties and responsibilities. Mayor Dalipog also provided a special message reminding the LGU officials and staff to continuously update their skill sets owing to the growing demand for technological innovations. He then expressed his appreciation for the timely initiative from NAMRIA Administrator Peter N. Tiangco and the project team, composed of Engr. Rosalyn Sontillanosa, EnP. Annrou Ramos and Ms. Nilca Jane Fabellon.
Mayor Dalipog (right) with Engr. Sontillanosa during the closing ceremony
The implentation of the six-month project will run until March 2017 and will also involve the conduct of an Advanced GIS Training Program with the same participants, as well as a series of field validations and key informant interviews with identified stakeholders. A database design document for the proposed Geospatial Information Monitoring System for the Banaue LGU will serve as the project’s terminal output. Upon its successful implementation, the proposed system will be replicated in other LGUs within Ifugao.
The project coincides with a number of NAMRIA’s strategic initiatives, namely: Environmental and Natural Resources Mapping; Geospatial Information Management (GIM); Partnership Development; and Research, Development, and Extension on Mapping GIM.
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