by Genevieve H. Lorenzo, Quirino Sugon Jr, and Deanna Marie P. Olaguer
In a memo dated 15 September 2016, Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, SJ, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Manila Observatory, announced the appointment of Dr. Antonio G. M. La Viña as Executive Director of the Manila Observatory (MO) starting 1 October 2016. Dr. La Viña is a lawyer, a member the Board of Trustees of the Manila Observatory since 2004, and was the dean of the Ateneo School of Government for the past 10 years, as well as undersecretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in 1996. He has worked nationally and internationally on the policy concerns of various environmental concerns, including climate change. Dr. La Viña was a spokesman, advisor, and negotiator for the Philippines at the COP21 climate summit in Paris in 2015. He finished his Master of Laws and Doctor of Juridical Science degrees at Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut.
Dr. La Viña succeeded Ms. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga who served as Manila Observatory’s Executive Director since 2007. During her term, Ms. Loyzaga positioned the observatory as a center for disaster science and risk management, focusing not only on observation and monitoring of natural disasters like typhoons, floods, and earthquakes, but also on how to quantify the disaster risks to help the government and private sectors mitigate the effects of disasters and organize the relief efforts.