The cities of Cabuyao and San Pedro in the province of Laguna are aiming to have a more coordinated plan and response during times of natural disasters such as earthquakes with their adoption and installation of USHER or the Universal Structural Health Evaluation and Recording, a technology developed through the support of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
The ceremonial turnover was held on 24 November 2021, spearheaded by the DOST-CALABARZON, as part of the 2021 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) celebration.
USHER system is a 24/7 economical and hassle-free system that provides advanced decision support tools for building managers and officials of local government units to implement structural health monitoring and management. It is a weather and theft-proof system that remotely monitors the structural health of bridges and buildings, enabling officials to determine whether the structures need repairs or upgrades to withstand natural hazards like earthquakes.
It is a research product commercialization project of Mapua University through Dr. Francis Aldrine A. Uy, and the Department of Science and Technology–Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technologies Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).
During the turnover, DOST-CALABARZON Regional Director Emelita P. Bagsit said that USHER technology can assist local government units in monitoring the structural condition of critical government infrastructures. Bagsit further said that it is an accurate method to ascertain mitigation strategies to safeguard the buildings where the USHER is installed. It can be used to determine whether the building needs retrofitting or if people are still safe to return to the building in the event that a high-intensity earthquake hits the area.
“As of now, USHER technology adopters are concentrated in the National Capital Region. That is why we are really looking forward that there will be more technology adopters of the USHER here in the CALABARZON region. Soon, we will become a testimony to other regions and motivate them also to adopt the USHER and further build a strong country prepared for the disasters such as the most feared: the Big One,” said Bagsit.
Meanwhile, DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña shared that USHER is a 24/7 web portal system that allows remote monitoring and analysis of the structural integrity of buildings and other structures and it enables economical and hassle-free compliance to government regulations.
“I am glad that USHER is now crossing boundaries outside Metro Manila. This testifies
the need for and importance of this research product commercialization to our people – it is a good example of making science for the people,” said Secretary de la Peña.
On the other hand, Office of Civil Defense-CALABARZON Regional Director Ma. Theresa R. Escolano underscored how USHER technology could be a big leap in disaster management in the region as it plays an important role in determining the safety and integrity of infrastructures before, during, and after an earthquake.
“This technology is a breakthrough in disaster management and tools and equipment. As we face risks brought about by the earthquake, this locally developed technology will guide and help structural engineers as well as disaster managers in the monitoring and immediate assessment of infrastructure,” said Regional Director Escolano.
Moreover, San Pedro City Laguna Mayor Lourdes S. Cataquiz shared her appreciation to the DOST as she cited that this partnership with DOST-CALABARZON and the adoption of USHER would really help the City Government of San Pedro especially during times of calamities and disasters.
“The USHER system is a very innovative tool to guarantee that our buildings are safe especially every time we experience earthquakes. This will help us protect and ensure the safety of our constituents. We are very thankful for this opportunity and may this be the start of many collaborations with you as we work towards the betterment of our communities and constituents,” said Mayor Cataquiz.
The turnover ceremony was part of the DOST-CALABARZON’s project on the Deployment of a Structural Health Monitoring System for Critical Government-Owned Buildings along with the Valley Fault System (VFS). With the support of the Office of Civil Defense – CALABARZON and the LGUs concerned, DOST-CALABARZON aims to deploy earthquake sensors that can provide a rapid assessment of critical government buildings and infrastructures in preparation for “The Big One”.
The 2021 NSTW is a weeklong virtual celebration that features the various DOST developed and implemented projects, programs, and services that kicked off on 22 November and will last up to 28 November 2021. To see the daily activities and webinars offered to the public for FREE, log in to www.nstw.dost.gov.ph or visit the NSTW Facebook page. (With information from DOST-CALABARZON)