This article was originally published on the University of the Philippines System Website on April 7, 2017.
At the 1326th UP Board of Regents Meeting on 5 April 2017, Prof. Alfredo Mahar Francisco A. Lagmay was appointed as Director of the UP Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) Center, effective 21 March 2017 until 20 March 2020, and as Executive Director of the UP Resilience Institute for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, effective 1 April 2017 until 21 March 2018.
Widely recognized as one of the world’s leading international scientific experts on natural hazards, Prof. Lagmay is a Professor at the National Institute of Geological Sciences, UP Diliman. He earned his degrees from the UP Diliman (BA, MS Geology) and the University of Cambridge (PhD Earth Science) and was a visiting scientist at the Geophysics Department of Stanford University from 2006-2007.
Prof. Lagmay’s pioneering research on natural hazards, volcano-tectonics and hands-on experience in search and rescue as well as forensic analyses of major Philippine catastrophes has become the basis for over 90 published articles in scientific journals he authored. Prof. Lagmay lectures frequently on Philippine disasters to share his knowledge and promote awareness of natural hazards and its impacts. He documents the difficult lessons from previous disasters, which include the lethal Frank, Ondoy, Pedring/Quiel, Sendong and Pablo floods, Guinsaugon debris avalanche, Mayon lahar, and Yolanda storm surges and uses them to recommend science-based disaster prevention policies.
Recognizing the impact of Prof. Lagmay’s interdisciplinary work, the European Geoscience Union (EGU, 2015) awarded him the Plinius Medal, the first Asian to receive such honor. He was featured by Asian Scientist Magazine (2016) as one of Asia-Pacific Region’s 100 leading scientists, one of five Filipino scholars to make it in the list.
Prof. Lagmay’s other important awards and citations, include the Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) award from the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Senate Philippines (2013), The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Outstanding Professional of the Year Award in the field of Geology (2014), WiKiPinoy of the Year Award (2014), Catholic Mass Media Award (CMMA), Philippine Quill Awards and the Hildegarde awards (2014, 2015) for the educational radio program Red Alert on DZMM, which he anchors. Under his supervision, Project NOAH received the USAID and FHI360 Harnessing Data for Resilience Recognition Award (2016).
Last year, Prof. Lagmay was elected to the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), He was recognized for promoting and integrating advanced science and technology to enhance disaster management and the prevention capacity of the Philippines, which subsequently saved many lives.
The NAST also recognized Prof. Lagmay’s multi-disciplinary and global research on volcano-tectonics, which changed the way the scientific community understood volcanoes and their consequent societal impacts. Lagmay’s seminal work on Philippine geology, was used, in part, as the technical basis for the successful Philippine territorial claim in the Benham Rise under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).