Developing Crustal Stress Community Awareness Network (CSCAN) on Luzon Island, The Philippines


Jean J. Chu, Project Consultant

1 January 2001




During a period of two and a half months, from mid-August until the end of October 2000, the Government of the Philippines and the UNGP-IPASD joined in a cooperative effort to monitor and forecast natural disasters. Crustal stress sites were set up in nine municipalities located around the island of Luzon. These sites are being monitored by local community residents, including public administrators, the lay public, young students, as well as scientists. The purpose of the network is to strengthen the preparedness and awareness of local communities to changes in their natural environment that are related to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.




            The United Nations Global Programme for the Integration of Public Administration and the Science of Disasters (UNGP-IPASD) was established in 1996 by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) in New York. Its purpose is to share with interested Member States recent discoveries that link public administration and science in the mitigation of large and sudden natural disasters such as earthquakes, heavy rainstorms and floods. 

In January 1997, the first UN International Conference on the Integration of Public Administration and the Science of Disasters, held in Beijing, China, included two representatives from the Republic of the Philippines: Corazon Alma G. de Leon, Chair of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and Raymundo S. Punongbayan, Director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). They and other conference participants experienced first-hand, community-based technologies in disaster forecasting for seismic and weather-related events.

The UN Global Programme-IPASD, from 1996-99, facilitated in strengthening community preparedness for natural disasters in China. Significant successes in preparedness for the 1997 Jiashi earthquakes and the heavy flooding in South China in 1998 came to the attention of the Philippine government. In October of 1998, the offices of the Philippine Vice-President and the Secretary of National Defense expressed interest in cooperative work between the Philippines and the UNGP-IPASD. Funds were located in early 2000 to conduct project formulation visits on the island of Luzon in February and March.


Partners in Sustainable Development


Cooperative work in disaster monitoring and preparedness began in the Philippines in early 2000, with facilitation by the CSC, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), involving PAGASA and PHIVOLCS. Discussions between the UNGP-IPASD, CSC, PHIVOLCS and Mayor Bayani B.F. Fernando of Marikina City, resulted in the organization of a Round Table Conference (RTC) in Marikina City in mid-August 2000. By the end of October 2000, the partnerships created during the RTC resulted in the generation of preparedness activities in ten communities on the island of Luzon, as part of a national project sponsored by the National Disaster Coordination Council (NDCC) of the Philippines and the UNGP-IPASD.

The milestones in this national project involving public administrators, scientists and citizen participation for natural disaster preparedness and mitigation include:


·    PROJECT INITIATION. Momentum for the project began with a Round Table Conference (RTC) for Government and Civil Society on Natural Disaster Preparedness which took place in Marikina City from 21-23 August 2000. Orlando S. Mercado, Secretary of National Defense (DND) and Chair of the NDCC, along with Corazon De Leon, Chair of the CSC, Reynaldo Jaylo, Assistant Secretary of Public Safety (DILG), Terrence Jones, Resident Coordinator of the UN System, and Zenida Delica, Director of Training Programmes of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) in Bangkok, all participated in the RTC. Additional attendees included Mayors, national officials from key ministries, representatives of civil society organizations, and representatives from the League of Barangays.


·    NATIONAL DISASTER MITIGATION MUSEUM. The Mayor of Marikina City had long-wanted to establish a national disaster mitigation museum, and requested that the posters and other materials from the Round Table Conference be deposited with them.  Designed for citizens and especially school children, this museum includes the UNGP-IPASD poster displays, a video display and tour of the Marikina lay monitoring station with lectures. The UNGP-IPASD donated the materials on Wednesday evening 23 August, and the first group of school children visited the new Museum on Monday morning 28 August. While the establishment of this Museum was not part of the original plan of activities, the UNGP-IPASD was pleased to donate the materials and the lay monitoring site to Marikina City as the core displays for the museum.  Marikina City will augment the holdings, develop computer access to the Internet, improve the public information programme and publicize the Museum’s services to communities and schools throughout the country.


·    LUZON CSCAN INSTALLATION. A network of monitoring sites, the Crustal Stress Community Awareness Network (CSCAN), was fully installed in nine different communities on Luzon by 24 October 2000, with cooperation from the Governors, Mayors, the Engineering Brigades of the Army, Navy and Air Force, PHIVOLCS, and the Search and Rescue Squadrons of the Philippine Air Force. The nine-community sites report their data to PHIVOLCS, which has designated a full-time staff member to analyze the data and prepare summary reports on crustal stress signals from the communities. A map of the sites is attached (B).


·    NETWORK SITES OF THE LUZON CSCAN. The structure and participation of the Luzon CSCAN were designed as a model of good governance, with transparency, accountability and widespread participation. The network includes:


·    Aparri: Located at a Catholic School (primary and secondary), the nuns and students of this observation site at St. Paul School of Aparri are enthusiastic about carefully recording and reporting changes in the natural environment, and learning from their participation in a national network. The Mayor is exceptionally supportive and personally initiated contact with the school.

·    Baler: The Mayor’s Office in the Municipality of Baler is cooperating with the Aurora Integrated Area Development Program (AIADP) of the Department of Agriculture (DOA). The monitoring site is located in a joint AIADP/secondary school building, where staff record and report the crustal stress signals.

·    Batangas City: The staff assigned to this observation site, established in the Office of the City Veterinarian and Agricultural Services (OCVACS), regularly record and report crustal stress data, as well as weather and other changes in the natural environment.

·    Infanta: Located just outside the Municipal Hall, this site has the strong support of the Mayor’s Office. The staff at Infanta carefully and regularly record and report crustal stress signals.

·    Lingayen: Positioned near the intersection of two major fault zones, the area of Lingayen is excellent for crustal stress measurements. The observation site is at the City Engineer’s Office.

·    Marikina City: The first crustal stress site ever established in the Philippines, this observation station is located in the City Engineer’s Office. The staff of the engineer’s office record and report signals regularly.

·    Quezon City: Established at PHIVOLCS within the campus grounds of the University of the Philippines, government scientists record and report crustal stress data, as well as analyze the observations of the other eight sites around the island of Luzon.

·    Santa: A private sector enterprise, where the workers record and report crustal stress data, this monitoring site is situated just south of Vigen, near several fault zones. The Office of the Provincial Governor partners in the monitoring effort with the private sector.

·    Sorsogon: The Municipality of Sorsogon lies between two historically active volcanoes, one of which is the well-known Mayon Volcano which erupted in February 2000. Municipal government staff record the data.


·    TRAINING AND COORDINATION OF CITIZEN PARTICIPANTS. Tapping local resources in each community, lay personnel from the nine monitoring stations of CSCAN came to PHIVOLCS in Quezon City from 26-27 October 2000, to participate in a crustal stress training seminar. Over thirty participants from nine different communities on Luzon came together from various walks of life, including building custodians, city engineers and accountants. Young students also participated.

                  The two-day seminar trained participants on ways to recognize signals from the natural environment that relate to earthquake disasters. They also learned to plot their own data on graphs, giving them a visual tool to help them recognize earthquake precursory signals. Secretary Orlando S. Mercado (DND and NDCC), and Director Raymundo S. Punongbayan (PHIVOLCS) also participated in the seminar.


Follow-Up to the Current Activities


·    INAUGURATION OF CSCAN. By mid-2001, the Philippine Government led by NDCC, DILG, CSC and PHIVOLCS, will officially inaugurate the Luzon CSCAN. Governors and Mayors in the CSCAN region and further south will attend, with representatives of civil society and the private sector, as well as the Resident Coordinator of the UN System.


·    EXPANSION OF CSCAN ON LUZON. A monitoring site at Ilagan in Isabella Province will be established as the tenth CSCAN site, so as to strengthen the entire Luzon disaster preparedness network shield.


·    Further community-based training in natural disaster awareness, preparation and mitigation at the nine sites, and in other areas as requested by governors and mayors. Disaster preparedness is maximized when grass-roots feedback on changes in the local natural environment is combined with data from CSCAN.


·    Further workshops between public administrators and scientists. These workshops will clarify (i) the significance of crustal stress signals, (ii) the role of the network in informing participants of changes in the geological situation and (iii) the measured responses of public administrators to various degrees of signals; discussion of probability theory and scaled precautionary measures.


·    Fund-raising, nationally and internationally, for extension of the CSCAN lay monitoring network and community-based workshops on disaster awareness and preparedness for public administrators and citizens, to the remaining two-thirds of the Philippines. National private sector and funding agencies are included in this activity.


·    Publications describing “Citizen-Participation in Network Monitoring of Natural Disaster Precursors: Co-production of Public Safety Service Delivery”, including analytical paper and training module for UNPAN (United Nations Online Network of Regional Institutions for Capacity Building in Public Administration and Finance).




            This project was made possible with the tremendous and coordinated help of the Philippine Government and peoples. In order of involvement, our gratitude to the CSC, DOST, PHIVOLCS, PAGASA, NDCC, DSWD and Offices of the Vice-President and President, Governors and Mayors, DILG, DND and the Philippine Armed Forces (Army, Air Force and Navy), as well as DECS, NFA, DPWH and DOA.

            Particular thanks are given to Secretaries Orlando S. Mercado (DND) and Alfredo S. Lim (DILG), for their direct interest in this project facilitated the timely completion of the crustal stress network, by assuring close cooperation at the logistical and technical levels, as well as at the local community level. Last but not least, the quiet, steady and consistent support of Director Raymundo S. Punongbayan and his dedicated PHIVOLCS staff provided this project with the fundamental base to succeed.



Details of Symbols Above


CSC:                Civil Service Commission

DOST:              Department of Science and Technology

PHIVOLCS:       Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology

PAGASA:         Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration

NDCC:              National Disaster Coordinating Council

DSWD:             Department of Social Welfare and Development

DILG:                Department of Interior and Local Government

DND:                Department of National Defense

DECS:              Department of Education, Culture and Sports

NFA:                 National Food Authority

DPWH:             Department of Public Works and Highways

DOA:                Department of Agriculture