Issue of July 16, 2017

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The government shift of approach on disaster management from awareness building to transforming communities and families to be resilient is a welcome move if only to make Filipinos prepared to respond to and recover from the impacts of calamities.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 29 renaming the National Disaster Consciousness Month, observed every month of July, to National Disaster Resilience Month (NDRM), eventually directed concerned agencies to shift their disaster management focus from informing the public about the threats of disasters to instilling in them the value of being able to adapt and recover from hazards.

The move came in time when this mountain resort is commemorating the July 16, 1990 killer earthquake that devastated Baguio and its environs while this country is bracing for the typhoon season and the increasing challenges brought about by climate change, among other natural hazards, that continue to pin us down emotionally, physically and economically.

Since the shift will focus on assessing the preparation, response, and restoration abilities of communities, through the systems put in place by their local government units, we are looking forward to learning the best practices in managing disasters while we also would like to learn a lesson or two from those that fail to execute measures to build or improve their ability to cope with and recover from the impacts of hazards.

In the Cordillera, the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, led by the Office of the Civil Defense, showcased the disaster response equipment of provincial DRRM offices and the skills of responders when it launched the NDRM month.

We hope that the activities featured during the NDRM Month launching were able to impart a good practice or two, which can be adopted by other LGUs or agencies.

With building resilience as the focus of activities during the NDRM, we are confident too that our people will no longer confine their knowledge to the categories of disasters, but upgrade to knowing how to avoid, adapt, and recover from these by equipping themselves with the needed skills.

We are also looking forward to the LGUs and agencies upgrading their ability to provide life preservation and meet the survival needs of their people during or immediately after calamities. By now, concerned agencies must have long realized that preparation does not mean getting ready to give relief goods to victims of calamities but preparing them to be ever resilient.

We are looking forward to the enhanced ability of concerned government agencies to restore and improve infrastructure systems and the livelihood of people who are hit by disasters, including their ability to protect their citizens from the impacts of calamities and help them get back to normal functioning after every disaster.

The public should take typhoons and other calamities seriously and concerned local government units in the Cordilleras as the Mines and Geosciences Bureau listed the provinces of Apayao, Benguet, including Baguio, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province, all in the region, in the top 10 provinces nationwide that are prone to landslides and flashfloods.

It is only by achieving these that we can say that our communities are safer, adaptive, and resilient when calamity strikes.


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