Alfredo M. F. A. Lagmay
The 2015 Plinius Medal is awarded to Alfredo M. F. A. Lagmay for his outstanding interdisciplinary natural-hazard research and natural-disaster engagement in the Philippines, particularly with respect to volcanic hazards, earthquakes, typhoons, landslides and floods.
Alfredo Mahar Lagmay is currently a professor at the National Institute of Geological Sciences, University of the Philippines. He is also the Executive Director of the Department of Science and Technology Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH), a flagship programme for disaster risk reduction and management that collaborates with government agencies to promote and integrate advanced science and technology to enhance disaster management and prevention capacity of the Philippine government. His research comprises multiple aspects of natural hazards, particularly as they apply to the Philippines, including volcanic hazards, computational fluid dynamics, persistent scatterer interferometry of faulted regions and flood risk management. A consultant for the World Bank, Lagmay is a leading international scientific expert on natural disasters.
One example of a study he has done was on the geological hazards of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, which was used as scientific basis for the deliberations on the rehabilitation of the mothballed nuclear plant. On behalf of the Philippine delegation, he presented the technical arguments of the Philippines’ successful claim on the Benham Rise region to the United Nations Commission on the Law of the Sea. Many of the geological arguments used to support this claim are found in articles he published. He has also led the Geohazard Subteam of the University of the Philippines Padayon Disaster Response Team, a multidisciplinary group assembled to provide aid and service to the area hardest hit by Typhoon Washi. His most recent work includes the 2013 Bohol earthquake and the 2013 Yolanda/Haiyan supertyphoon. In the latter, typhoon Haiyan, storm surge forecasts were produced under Lagmay’s leadership of Project NOAH which mitigated significantly loss of life in the Philippines. He has extensive hands-on experience in search and rescue and forensic analyses of major Philippine catastrophes, including the lethal floods of Mindoro, Iloilo, and Pampanga, the Guinsaugon landslide, the Mt. Mayon lahars, and the typhoons Ondoy, Pedring/Quiel, Sendong, Habagat, Pablo and Yolanda.
Lagmay has extended his research experience to extensive public outreach and lecturing. He is a recipient of the Presidential Citation for Search and Rescue Work in Guinsaugon and of the 2008 Outstanding Research Award for advanced science and technology in the Philippines for innovative applications of space technology. He was also awarded the 2008 and 2011 University Scientist awards, the 2012 New Media Digital Heroes Award and the 2012 Cyberpress Best IT Product of the Year for development of the Project NOAH website and mobile tools. In 2013 he was presented with the Professional Regulation Commission Outstanding Professional of the Year Award in the field of Geology for his accomplishments. He also received the 2013 Outstanding Filipino award. Most recently, he was given the 2014 University of the Philippines Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award in Disaster Mitigation. With his wide range of experience and expertise in geology and disaster science, he continues to serve the Filipino people by conducting work in areas stricken by disasters.