Dubbed “United, We Stand Prepared” – A Planning Workshop for Disaster Risk Reduction”, the Alliance of Seven LGUs and partner nongovernment organizations led by RESILIENCE: Nurturing Disaster-Ready Cities and Communities and the private think-tank La Liga Policy Institute (La Liga), the planning workshop to be held on March 17, 2011 at the Sentrong Pangkultura ng Marikina in Sta. Elena, Marikina City aims to address the challenge posed by severe flooding triggered by disastrous typhoons such as “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” that ravaged Luzon, including Metro Manila, in the last quarter of 2009 and strong earthquakes that may hit the country.
The Alliance of Seven is composed of Markina City, Pasig City, Antipolo City, Quezon City, and the Municipalities of Cainta, San Mateo and Rodriguez, all in the province of Rizal.
Workshop participants, composed of representatives from the member-LGUs led by local government officials and various stakeholders from the private sector are expected to work and provide valuable inputs in the areas of disaster vulnerabilities, capacities and needs assessment, early warning system installation, command integration and contingency planning, rehabilitation and reforestation of the Marikina Watershed including review of existing policies, resettlement plan for highly at risk communities including the possibilities for in-city relocation and livelihood assistance, and project development and resource mobilization initiatives.
Horacio “Boy” Morales, president of RESILIENCE said every disaster poses new challenge which requires LGUs to continuously fashion and adopt new strategies and methods to reduce vulnerabilities to disasters and enhancing coping capacities of cities and communities.
During the last quarter of 2009, the Philippines was battered by tropical storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng, leaving nearly a thousand dead and thousands homeless, with total damage and losses estimated at $4.38 billion or P206 billion., which is 2.7 percent of the country’s GDP, according to the World Bank Report: Post-Disaster Needs Assessment. Storms.
Morales said typhoons stronger than “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” will hit the Philippines in the coming years, but the country is one of the least prepared nations in Southeast Asia to cope with natural disasters, quoting Jerry Velasquez, senior regional coordinator of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.
In October and November last year, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) released two consecutive advisories stating that he La Nina phenomenon, which started mid-2010, shall continue until April to ay 2011.
Around 16-20 storms normally enter the Philippine area of responsibility.
“Individually, LGUs and their given resources can only endure so much,” Roland Cabigas, managing director of La Liga said.
He stressed that the rising costs of disasters further increase the vulnerabilities of Filipinos, decreasing their capacity to cope.
“It is through cooperation of the public and private sectors that this cycle can be broken through taking a proactive approach to protect lives and livelihoods; and to enhance the capacity to manage and thereby increasing the capacity to ‘bounce’ back after an event,” he said.
`The workshop’s output will be presented to President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and concerned members of his cabinet. (La Liga Policy Insitute)