A man of deep foresight with keen inclinations for aggressive research—that’s Dr. Raymundo S. Punongbayan.
The successful forecasts that saved thousands of lives during the 1991 volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo was made possible through the able leadership of Dr. Punongbayan. Dr. Punongbayan served as the director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOCS) from 1983 to 2002.
During Dr. Punongbayan’s term, PHIVOCS was recognized internationally as an authority in volcanological and seismological phenomena. His efforts for thorough research on the fields of volcanology, seismology and disaster management as well as in establishing training and development programs for the PHIVOCS staff paid off well.
Dr. Punongbayan is best remembered as the one who mobilized his team to dig a 5-meter-deep drainage channel on the side of the Mt. Pinatubo volcano—10 years after its eruption—to spill off about a quarter of the swollen volcanic lake that formed since the eruption. He helped save almost 40,000 lives from perishing from a potential flash flood.
Dr. Punongbayan also served as governor of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC). The PNRC has health and development projects that assist the Philippine government especially during times of disaster.
Dr. Punongbayan graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Geology degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman in 1960. He obtained his doctorate degree in Geology from the University of Colorado 1972.
Raymundo S. Punongbayan.www.phivolcs.cost.gov.ph/news/RSProfil-EDM.htm
Filipinos Return as Volcano Lake Drains. http://news.bbc.co.uk/I/hi/world/asia-pacific/1530182.stm
Visual courtesy: top100pinoys