University of the Philippines Manila officially launches first-ever Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in Health Center

A ceremonial ribbon cutting marked the launch of the first-ever Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in Health Center. From left, Dr. Teodoro Herbosa, Dr. Fernando Garcia, Jr., Dr. Yui Sekitani, UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita Padilla, Dr. Carlos Gundran, Dr. Mahar Lagmay, and NIH Executive Director Dr. Eva Cutiongco-Dela Paz. 



DOST Sec. Fortunato Dela Pena and PCHRD Exec Director Jaime Montoya visit the DRRM H Center on June 24, 2022 for a brief meeting and orientation


June 8, 2022  — The University of the Philippines Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in Health (UPM DRRM-H) Center was officially launched on 8 June 2022 to conduct state-of-the-art disaster simulation trainings and evidence-based research.


"The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Through the Center, we seek to conduct training and seminars that will prepare our responders, even ordinary employees in disaster preparedness through our state-of-art facilities. We can finally hold disaster preparedness training virtually, and mistakes could be prevented in actual situations,"  said Dr. Carlos Primero Gundran, lead investigator and UPM DRRM-H Center Head.


The Center envisions itself to be "the center for excellence of the academe" when it comes to disaster risk reduction and management in health. It also embodies three primary objectives, specifically in its training: to develop necessary skills such as command and control, collaboration, and coordination; to identify those who need psychosocial interventions in evacuation camps; and to efficiently allocate available resources immediately in disaster-stricken areas.


The DRRM-H Center office


Committed to being at the forefront in preparing communities for disasters, UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita Padilla expressed gratitude to the Department of Science and Technology for acknowledging UP Manila’s willingness to take the lead in helping other universities, centers, and the country in disaster resiliency.


With the expansion of the Center's offerings, the Chancellor hopes for a fruitful and vibrant unit designed for the betterment of the country. “I look forward to more research, more drills, more trainings, and more opportunities for the communities to be more prepared for the future,” she furthered.


“I will be forever proud of being part of coming up with this vision. I hope this branches out worldwide. Thank you, DOST, for making this dream a reality. We also hope to work with other institutions within and outside the university,” Dr. Fernando Garcia, Jr., one of the minds behind the DRRM-H Center, said.


Photo from DOST-Science for Change Program


According to DRRM-H Center Lead Project Assistant Mr. Adrian Alejandro, the XVR Software, Disaster Simulation Suite, and Emergo Train System are the technologies being used by the center for simulation training. The XVR Software is a training tool designed mainly for safety and security professionals that allow virtual setting up of scenarios of different hazards. The Disaster Simulation Suite is a web-based, semi-quantitative system used for planning, implementation, and evaluation of a drill, performing multi-user real time data that can be used in devices including smartphones and tablets. A tabletop activity set, the Emergo Train System uses magnetic symbols to simulate the role of responders, patients, and equipment.



From left to right, top to bottom: Dr. Alfredo Mahar Francisco A. Lagmay, Hannah Grace Ernia (NDRRMC), Dr. Fernando Garcia, Jr., Daniel Darius Nicer (DENR), Dr. Jomar Rabajante, Dr. Teodoro Herbosa, Dr. Carlos Gundran, Merlinda Manila (DENR), UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita D. Padilla, NIH Executive Director Dr. Eva Cutiongco-Dela Paz, Dr. Yui Sekitani (WHO-WPRO)


Since 2018, the Center has been providing trainings and offering consultancy and research services to various institutions. Currently, the Center collaborates with the UP Diliman Resilience Institute in researches involving COVID-19 topics and proposals for Phase 2 with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).


The UPM DRRM-H was first envisioned by the Health Emergencies and Disasters (HEAD) study group of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) back in 2016. Its creation was inspired by Dr. Teodoro Herbosa, an emergency medicine expert, and Dr. Anna Tuazon and Dr. Hilton Lam, both part of the UP Manila and UP Diliman team who trained in Sweden in 2018 on the Emergo Train System. Its partner organizations include the DOST, Department of Health, and the UP System.


The DRRM-H Center is located at the 2nd floor of the Joaquin Gonzales Hall, University of the Philippines Manila. For inquiries, visit their Facebook page or send an email to


Anne Marie D. Alto


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