So this is happening

I haven’t been posting on this blog as much as I should, but this is actually happening. Five years after a priest-friend gently reminded me that one cannot give what one doesn’t have, and that I must try to educate myself as much as I can, here comes an opportunity to train in one of the top universities in the world. Grateful beyond belief.

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On Typhoon Pablo, DRRM and systems thinking

Written for PLAN 210. Unfortunately I seem to have waylaid the diagram mentioned here–maybe I can get around to resketching it, someday.

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One emerging challenge for local governments is disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM), or the need to holistically respond to extreme climate events that increasingly pose threats to life and property. This can be seen in the recent experience of Typhoon Pablo, which completely devastated many municipalities in the eastern seaboard of Mindanao. As per the 17 January 2013 report of the DSWD Disaster Risk Reduction and Response Operations Office (DRRROO), a total of total of 504,857 families with 2.2 million persons have been affected in 2,631 barangays, 292 municipalities, 35 cities, 33 provinces in 10 regions, with particular emphasis on Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley and some parts of the Caraga Region. Although the onslaught of said typhoon was experienced as a single event (cited as a once-in-a-century storm) that has direct linear effects, further analysis of the situation reveals complex cyclical cause-effect patterns that must be factored into any plan of action.

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Thought Paper: On Davao City, growth poles and cumulative causation

Written for PLAN 201, which has been an awesome start to my stay at the UP School of Urban and Regional Planning. The prof is cool enough to let the substantial experience from the class (a good mix of government development workers, architects, engineers and researchers) emerge, while being to frame it theoretically without clamping down on the freewheeling discussions. There have been times where the thought of a cheery Saturday class was enough to get me through a brutal workweek. Gotta brush up on stat, though.

Thought Paper: On Davao City, growth poles and cumulative causation

What comes to mind when discussing spatial theories of regional development such as growth poles (Perroux) and cumulative causation (Myrdal) is the case of Davao City, which is currently the most important development center in Mindanao, and is emerging as a strategic regional growth center, particularly in the context of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

I believe Davao City is a prime example of how development has a tendency to cluster in centers, resulting in major urban concentrations that are key development hubs from a national perspective, and have the potential to play a regional role in the realms of culture, business, and international transport. Its strategic location practically assures this—found in the southeastern tip of the Philippines, Davao is the natural jump-off point for travellers from Northern and Central Mindanao before heading to the Zamboanga Peninsula and the islands of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. It has also begun to be a gateway to Southern Philippines for international travellers from Southeast Asia and even Australia and the United States.  The last two decades have also seen a boom in Davao City’s economic growth. This can be seen in multiple centers and industries within the city, which as shown in the chart below from the Davao City Planning and Development Office, spans seven growth sectors, which makes good use of its massive 244 hectares (as it is one of the largest cities in the world by area).

Continue reading “Thought Paper: On Davao City, growth poles and cumulative causation”