Enhancing Resilience in Higher Education: The Philippine Experience

A panel from De La Salle University, Philippines, will present “Enhancing Resilience in Higher Education: The Philippine Experience” at The 3rd Southeast Asian Conference on Education (SEACE2023).

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This plenary will also be available for IAFOR Members to view online. To find out more, please visit the IAFOR Membership page.


Enhancing Resilience in Higher Education: The Philippine Experience

The Philippines has one of the highest risks of disasters in the world, mainly due to natural hazards such as typhoons, earthquakes, floods, droughts and disease. Institutions of higher learning could experience significant deaths and injury among its community members. Structures and facilities could be damaged or destroyed by major earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and even from fires or civil unrest. Disruptions to the academic calendar could increase as super typhoons become more frequent, rainfall becomes more intense during monsoon season, during times of prolonged flooding or droughts that disrupt power generation.

The COVID-19 pandemic, without destroying any buildings or other physical assets, has shown that many social and economic activities can suffer disruption to a degree that is unprecedented in recent history. Institutions of higher learning need significant preparation before more deadly diseases, complex emergencies and other sudden threats that interrupt the academic calendar, enrollment, assessment and graduation of future professionals emerge.

This panel will discuss the efforts of the Philippine Commission on Higher Education to enable business continuity planning by State universities and colleges (BCP4SUCs). While the BCP4SUCs project was prompted by the large-scale lockdown measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, the effort is consistent with a larger goal of resilience in higher education. The panellists are all key experts from the BCP4SUCs Project.


Gary Ador Dionisio
De La Salle University, Philippines

Gary Ador Dionisio, De La Salle University, PhilippinesDr Gary G. Ador Dionisio has been the Dean of the De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde School of Diplomacy and Governance (BENILDE) since 2019. Prior to his deanship, Dr Ador Dionisio was the Program Chairperson of the Consular and Diplomatic Affairs Program.
Dr Ador Dionisio was appointed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as a Technical Evaluator for Public Administration and Governance programs of the State Universities and Colleges (SUCs). At the same time, he was selected as the Project Manager of the CHED and Benilde Business Continuity Plan for State Universities and Colleges.

Dr Ador Dionisio has written, presented, and moderated various papers with themes on Governance and Public Administration, Public Policy, Civil Society Participations, International Relations and Diplomacy and International Political Economy to national and international conferences in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, China, Senegal, Spain, Italy, and the USA.

Dr Ador Dionisio is also an occasional speaker at the Department of National Defense (DND), Armed Forces of the Philippines – Command General Service Staff College. Recently, he was conferred as a Fellow of the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) and Subject Matter Expert at the Graduate School of Public Development and Management at the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP).

Dr Ador Dionisio is also a Senior Consultant of the WR Consultancy Group which provides policy and strategic advice to government, civil society and business organizations.
Lastly, Dr Ador Dionisio was part of the Faculty Advisory Board of Creative Learning, a non-government organization based in Washington, DC, USA from 2014 to 2018. He now sits as Board of Director of the Washington Global Institute (WGI), a learning institute that collaborates with various universities and colleges in Asia and the Pacific that provide capacity building training on governance, international relations and security. The Washington Global Institute has offices in Washington, DC, USA and London, UK.

Gabrielle Iglesias
De La Salle University, Philippines

Gabrielle Iglesias, De La Salle University, PhilippinesMs Gabrielle Iglesias is a Capacity Building Specialist in Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation, and an international consultant who works towards raising organisational capacities for disaster risk management and climate change adaptation. She has more than fifteen years of experience in supporting climate resilience, and is currently the Business Continuity Planning Lead for the Philippine Commission on Higher Education’s project to encourage business continuity planning by institutions of higher learning. Ms Iglesias has worked in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, the Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. She worked for the United Nations (South Korea), the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (Thailand), the Southeast Asia One Health University Network (Thailand), and was a tenured assistant professor of public administration at the University of the Philippines.

Sherwin E. Ona
De La Salle University, Philippines

Sherwin E. Ona, De La Salle University, PhilippinesSherwin E. Ona, PhD is an associate professor and former chairperson of the Political Science and Development Studies Department of De La Salle University. His expertise and interest are in the areas of human security, non-traditional threats, cyber defense policies, and digital transformation. Dr Ona served as ICT consultant to various government agencies such as the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Information and Communications Technology, among others. He has also worked with international organizations like the United Nations-Asia Pacific Center for ICT for Development (UN-APCICT), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Australian Awards, the Web Foundation, the British Council, and the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (SPIDER). Dr Ona’s writings and commentaries have appeared in online periodicals The Geopolitics and Analyzing War, as well as books, journals, and broadsheets.

Dr Ona is a senior fellow of the Philippine Public Safety College and the Stratbase-Albert Del Rosario Institute. He is also a module director for the Cyber Strategy and Policy Program of the National Defense College of the Philippines.

Allen Surla
De La Salle University, Philippines

Allen Surla, De La Salle University, PhilippinesAllen Surla is an Assistant Professor of the Political Science & Development Studies Department of De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines. He was former Director for Information Technology of DLSU and former Assistant Dean for External Affairs and Internationalization of the College of Liberal Arts.

He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of the Philippines in 1991 and became a consultant for the Department of Budget and Management with concurrent responsibilities at the Presidential Task Force on Mt. Pinatubo.

In 1993, Surla went to the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok for his MS Science degree in Urban Planning. This led him to becoming part of a group that carried out the Mindanao Development Framework Plan under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). He also conducted research for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on the agricultural land markets in the Philippines.

His urban planning background helped him to become one of the builders of the first Cyber City in the Philippines, which is located at the former US base in Clark Field, Pampanga.

He is also doing consultancy work for both local and international organisations, with particular focus on ICT and local governance. He is currently involved in the training of State Universities and Colleges (SUCS) in the Philippines towards developing their Business Continuity Plans.

Posted by IAFOR