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The UP Open University (UPOU) Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Committee organized two fora this December 2016 to advance UPOU’s level of readiness in earthquake disaster and information risk at the UPOU Headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna.

The first forum about Earthquake Disaster Preparedness and Management was held on 06 December 2016. Mr. Daniel Jose Buhay, Science Research Specialist from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), was the resource person.

Mr. Buhay discussed in detail the importance of readiness during earthquakes. He explained how earthquakes happen and what causes the tremors, especially in the Philippines. He also mentioned how UPOU office in Los Baños, Laguna will be affected, saying that UPOU is susceptible to liquefaction, a case when the soil loses integrity due to ground shaking and behaves like quicksand. This is due to the location’s proximity to Laguna Lake. He talked about preparations before the earthquake; doing the drop, cover and hold during earthquakes; and how be safe even after earthquakes. The different phases in planning for a proper earthquake drills in schools were also discussed. The DRRM Committee, chaired by Dr. Ricardo Bagarinao, said that the committee will be working on creating the different teams to ensure a disaster-prepared and resilient UPOU.

The second forum, conducted on 08 December 2016, was about Information Security Risk with Mr. Gulshan Vasson as the resource speaker. Mr. Vasson is a Senior Lecturer for the UPOU Diploma in Computer Science program with 13 years of experience in Information Technology including information security, solutions architect and technology project management. He is also a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), a lawyer licensed to practice law in India, and an Information Security consultant for various organizations.

Mr. Vasson discussed information security and mobile forensics. He explained mobile forensics, as part of digital forensics, as the science of recovering digital information from a mobile phone, and includes recovery and analysis of information for mobile devices. He explained how mobile phones can be used unlawfully, the extent of the operation of some hackers on different mobile operating systems, the laws involving data privacy, and some sample scenarios of identity theft and other cybercrimes. In the end, he said that security depends on the person because no matter how complicated a system is, hackers will be able to tap into the system and access private information. Layers of security will help but a more important tip he gave was for each individual to always be careful and vigilant especially on everything that includes online systems.

Both the fora elicited many questions from the UPOU audience, which were ably answered and by the resource speakers. Both fora were conducted at the UPOU Audio-visual Room in Los Baños, Laguna. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

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