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MANILA, Philippines – Is your local government ready for disasters?

While some local government units (LGU) have already taken steps to make their communities more resilient to disasters, there are others that still need help in this area. This is why the Local Government Academy (LGA) and the Spanish government are working together to help LGUs to improve their disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) activities.

The project, called Strengthening the Capacities of Philippine Local Governments in Disaster Risk Reduction (SCPLG-DRR), will bring together the following pilot communities:

  • Negros Oriental
  • Negros Occidental
  • Northern Samar
  • Davao Occidental

The first activity will be held from October 10, 2016 to October 14, 2016, just in time for Local Government Week, and will focus on disaster risk assessment in each of the LGUs. By the end of the week, the participants are expected to be able to draft their Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (LDRRM) Plan and Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP).

Two stages make up the project: an ocular visit and focus group discussion to understand their disaster risk contexts, and the risk appreciation training for the LGUs to learn how to use their resources to implement and improve their current DRR-CCA plans.

The LGA and the Manila Observatory will be partners for the weeklong activity.

LGUs, disasters, and the value of planning

LGUs are expected to have the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP), LDRRM Plan, and LCCAP among other documents to earn the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) Seal of Disaster Preparedness.

The seal is awarded to LGUs that comply with the DILG’s requirements and show exemplary leadership structure and innovative practices.

The plans will determine how LGUs will spend their DRRM fund and how they will integrate disaster preparedness into their local development. Most LGUs will use information provided by hazard maps, satellite images, ecological profiles, and other sources of data when drafting their plans.

With the increasing number and intensity of natural disasters, the ability of LGUs to bounce back and push through with their development is under greater strain. As seen in the cases of disaster-affected areas such as Bohol, Albay, and Guiuan, local governments need not be paralyzed in the face of catastrophes.

 After this training, the LGA hopes LGUs will not have to start from scratch whenever a disaster strikes.

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