The DROMIC Virtual Operations Center (Virtual OpCen) is an online facility of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through the Disaster Response Management Bureau (DRMB) that offers access to a comprehensive collection of data and information on the agency’s disaster preparedness and response efforts. Through this online facility, DSWD’s advocacies and efforts before, during, and after disasters are made available to the general public through the use of popular information and communication technologies (ICTs) that facilitate transparency and good governance, while securing and promoting the welfare and safety of everyone during disasters.
Background and Problem
The DSWD, as Vice-Chair for Disaster Response of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), has long recognized that accessible, accurate, and up-to-date data and information are essential in disaster risk reduction and management operations. The availability of these data and information before, during, and after a disaster is critical in the improvement of DSWD’s institutional mechanisms for effective and efficient disaster response. In the same manner, the availability of the same data that the public may use to improve its preparedness in events of disasters and calamities cannot be regarded with less importance. With this in mind, the agency established a critical step towards the continual improvement of its disaster response mechanisms by creating its Emergency Operations Center for disaster response and its online version, the DROMIC Virtual Operations Center (DROMIC Virtual Opcen) which is accessible via the internet.
Solution and Impact
The DROMIC Virtual OpCen is an information management system that offers a collection of comprehensive, reliable, and open-access information that comprises datasets, maps, predictive analytics, reports, and other information that ensure transparency in the agency’s decision-making and mandate implementation. It features two platforms that enhance effective, prompt, and benevolent disaster response and encourage citizen participation and government accountability: the e-Reklamo Complaints Management Ticket System and the Registry of Disaster Responders. The first is a citizen-focused mechanism that allows the public to report grievances and observations, and to seek redress and justifications of actions from the agency. The second, on the other hand, is a strategy to maximize skill-sets that may be tapped in carrying out disaster response by requiring its Central and Field Office employees to register as members of its Quick Response Teams (QRTs).
Since the Virtual OpCen remains a relatively new project, the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) that manages this platform is still in the process of improving features, content, and reporting mechanisms for disaster response. Currently, workshops and trainings are underway to introduce this initiative to DSWD Field Offices in order to explain their roles and responsibilities in making the project work, and to equip them with skills to operate DROMIC services and to contribute to its information system. Below are recent activities conducted by DROMIC in relation to the Virtual OpCen platform:
- Capacity-buildings for DSWD Central and Field Offices that operate the virtual services offered by Virtual OpCen.
- DROMIC Training and Consultation Workshop for the Enhancement of Disaster Reporting System, Batch 1 (July 31 to August 2, 2018). The training-workshop targeted City/Municipal Action Teams (C/MATs) to orient them on DROMIC Guidelines and assist them in preparing systematic reports during disasters and emergencies.
- DROMIC Training and Consultation Workshop for the Enhancement of Disaster Reporting System, Batch 2 (August 8 to August 10, 2018). The training-workshop targeted NCR LGU Disaster Focals to assist them in establishing a reporting system, and DROMIC team of Field Office-National Capital Region (FO-NCR) who will lead in reporting during disasters and emergencies.
- DROMIC Summit 2019
- DSWD, as the lead disaster response agency in the country, piloted its first Disaster Response Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) Summit on April 8 to 12, 2019 at Pinnacle Hotel, Davao City.
- The event was participated by DROMIC focal persons across all DSWD regional offices whose responsibility centers on information-sharing, team formation, enhanced coordination and standardization of operational procedures. It was correspondingly participated by the DROMIC Central Offices (COs) and Field Offices (FOs) personnel, DRMD Heads and representatives from other cluster members, and private agencies.
- With the theme, “Enhancing Community Resilience through Innovations in Information Technology and Data Sharing,” the DROMIC Summit 2019 aimed to strengthen the disaster information management system of the DSWD by enhancing the knowledge and skills of disaster response personnel. Some of the topics discussed in the event were about disaster data gathering, monitoring, coordination, information communication and technology (ICT), and data analytics, among others.
- It was organized by the Disaster Response Management Bureau (DRMB) which leads to the management of disaster response information and emergency operations of the Department.
- Training on the Use and Operation of INMARSAT-donated Equipment for Rapid Emergency Telecommunications Team (RETT).
Having received telecommunication equipment donation from UK’s INMARSAT, five (5) DSWD field offices underwent capacity building to learn how to operate the telecommunication equipment. This pilot-testing phase formed part of the mobilization of RETT, a component of the Virtual Opcen that will support the communications, electronics, and information needs of disaster managers and populations affected by disasters.