Western Visayas confab to tackle DRR, resilience culturescape

ILOILO CITY, Nov. 18 (PNA) — The Center for West Visayan Studies of the University of the Philippines-Visayas (UPV-CWVS) will hold its 25th Conference on West Visayan History and Culture with paper presentations from researches that tackle community disaster risk reduction practices and resilience.

The two-day conference that will kick off Thursday at the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) here anchors on the theme “Spaces, Places and Resilience in West Visayas Culturescape.”

The event is expected to gather officials from various local governments and regional government agencies, academics, researchers, historians, culture preservation campaigners, graduate students, professionals, civil society, community leaders and advocates of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

The gathering will be opened by two keynote presentations from experts coming from the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

First by Dr. Kristoffer Berse from UP-National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG) on the topic “Unpacking Resilience: Global Priorities, Local Actions” and second, by Dr. Emmanuel M. Luna from UP–College of Social Work and Community Development (UP-CSWD) who will discuss “Indigenous Knowledge and Disaster Risk Reduction.”

Professor Jorge S. Ebay, director of the UPV-CWVS, explained that the conference marks another milestone for the Center for West Visayan Studies as it expands its role as the vanguard of West Visayan culture, knowledge, legacy and resilience.

It will form part of the contribution of UPV-CWVS on the growing literature on resilience in light of Typhoon Yolanda that hit the region two years ago and the real challenge that disasters can bring to Western Visayas because of its increasing vulnerability to meteorological and climate change related risks, underscored Prof. Ebay.

The conference will provide the venue to revisit past practices and understand its link to current and ongoing efforts on disaster risk reduction and resilience and will help in building resilient communities in Western Visayas.

The gathering will feature around 13 research papers and presentations prepared by 15 professionals from the academe and civil society on themes namely Resilience as Cultural Space, Disaster in Art Space, Sacred Spaces and Indigenous Knowledge on Resilience, Heritage Sites and Historic Urban Centers, and Disaster Resilience and Local Communities.

The Center for West Visayan Studies was established in 1975 by UP-Visayas under the College of Arts and Sciences as an institution who answered the need for a concerted effort to preserve and disseminate information on the rich historico-cultural legacy of the region.

As a 40-year old institution, the UPV-CWVS serves as a repository of knowledge about the region, said Joyce Christine D. Colon, research assistant of UPV.

The UPV-CWVS holds the annual conference on West Visayan History and Culture by selecting relevant themes. Historically, the annual conference is held at the UPV campus but was later brought to different venues in the province in order to bring knowledge to rural areas and upgrade content in the social studies curriculum of public and private schools.

This year’s event was organized by UPV and CWVS in partnership with Christian Aid and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). It is being co-organized by different organizations that carry efforts on post-Typhoon Yolanda rehabilitation and reconstruction and advocacy work on DRR-CCA in Panay and Region 6. (PNA)