Phivolcs chief Solidum appointed as DOST usec

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) director Renato Solidum Jr has been appointed as an undersecretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Science Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said in a Palace news briefing on Wednesday, March 1, that Solidum is the DOST undersecretary for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

Solidum's appointment took effect on Monday, February 27.

"Dr Solidum brings with him years of experience in disaster risk reduction and management particularly in the field of geological hazards like earthquakes and tsunamis," the DOST said in a statement.

The department noted that at Phivolcs, Solidum initiated, among other projects, the improved volcano monitoring system, tsunami warning system, earthquake monitoring system, and the Rapid Earthquake Damage Assessment System, a software that can produce seismic hazard and risk maps before and immediately after an earthquake.

De la Peña said at the Palace briefing that he has recommended that Solidum continue to head the Phivolcs as officer-in-charge (OIC).

"I am recommending that he is retained as OIC," the DOST chief said in response to questions.

Asked whether Solidum would eventually have to leave Phivolcs, De la Peña said: "We will have to wait and see. If he can handle both, then he can be there as OIC, but not forever."

He said two people, ideally, are supposed to serve the functions of DOST undersecretary and Phivolcs chief but he decided to keep Solidum in Phivolcs due to the clamor in the agency.

"He has so many ongoing programs in Philvolcs, maganda kung hawakan pa niya [ang ahensiya] (so it would be good if he handles the agency) even as OIC. Saka hinihiling ng mga tao sa Phivolcs na siya muna ang OIC (And the people in Phivolcs have requested that he be designated as OIC)," he said. –