Disasters and resiliency
The magnitude 6.3 earthquake that hit Mindanao last night should once more jolt us to the reality that our country is one of the most natural hazard-prone in the world. Our people have stood witnesses to the earthquakes, floods, typhoons, landslides and sea level rise that have caused loss of precious lives and destruction of biodiversity and property.
With climate crisis buffeting humanity, rising sea levels should also be given attention. As the Philippines is an archipelago, with 7641 islands, they are considered a “direct threat to approximately 70 percent of the Philippine population, which has forced many to relocate as a result. In addition, climate change has also increased the severity and frequency of natural disasters in the country.”
Under our laws, disaster risk reduction and management is a service that has to be delivered and prioritized by our local government units (LGUs). The Department of Interior and Local Government, as the supervising authority over local governments, updated the Disaster Preparedness Manual for City and Municipal LGUs. It established the Operation L!sto as a tool to capacitate LGUs to respond effectively in disaster management and enhance the resiliency of our communities and ecosystems. In his message, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año emphasized that the Manual “guides LGUs in taking action before, during, and after a disaster. It contains flowcharts and checklists that LGUs can use in identifying needs and in taking proactive steps to prepare for disasters. It is also a reference tool when there is no threat of disasters or during ‘peace time,’ and until the critical period when a disaster hits their locality. In this case, the manual helps LGUs minimize disaster risks.”
Secretary Año notes that “LGUs have the mandate to be the frontliners in responding to natural disasters in local communities. Since they are the most knowledgeable about their own locality–its terrain, resources, and its people–they are best positioned to lead the people in preparing, anticipating, and mitigating the impact of disasters.”
The Manual is a most helpful guide for LGUs in ensuring preparedness within government and should motivate our public servants to reach out to stakeholders from the private and civil society sectors for their support and collaboration in ensuring that lives are protected and injuries minimized in times of disasters and resiliency is enhanced.
A paper by authors working under the Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED) initiative, notes that “”Resiliency to impacts of climate change can be measures in three ways: the ability to adapt to changes, anticipate what might happen next and absorb shocks when they do come along.”
Hope the DILG Manual is a tool that will attain the goal of resiliency and taken seriously by our local and national authorities and stakeholders in general.
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