Clark, Pampanga – May alam, Maagap, Handang Handa.  These words aptly describe what a basic unit of society need to avert the ill effects of disasters.  And this is what the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is aiming to achieve in bringing disaster preparedness down to the level of families. Using the whole-of-government approach, the L!STO program has come full circle as the DILG and LGA roll out L!STONG Pamayanan and L!STONG Pamilyang Pilipino that focus on community and family level of preparedness.

On April 25, 2016, around 1,300 Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries, national government agency representatives and local and international partners gathered in Clark, Pampanga to witness the launching of the L!STONG Pamayanan and L!STONG Pamilyang Pilipino with no less than H.E. President Benigno Aquino III gracing the event.  At the start of the program, Governor Lilia Pineda addressed the participants as she shared how the Operation L!STO program of the DILG has helped the Province of Pampanga in preparing for and responding to flooding brought about by typhoons.

Sec. Mel Senen Sarmiento for his part discussed the importance of bringing Operation L!STO down to the level of the barangay and the household.  “Napaka importante po na sa level ng barangay ay alam na alam ng mga punong barangay ang gagawin”, he said.   He also mentioned the different initiatives now being undertaken at the community level such as the tsunami simulation drill and the Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (CBDRRM). 

He then proceeded to introduce the L!STONG PAMILYANG PILIPINO that zero-in on family level preparedness through the Gabay At Mapa ng Pamilyang Pilipino.Kailangan ma-educate natin ang bawat bahay sa kung anu-ano ang mga hazard na maaring kaharapin, alamin kung ilan ang miyembro ng pamilya at alamin kung ano ang dapat gawin sa bawat sakuna na maaring dumating.  Ang pag educate na ito ay gagawin sa pamamagitan ng Family Development Session sa ating mga kasamahan sa 4Ps”, Sec. Sarmiento explained.

As a closing statement, he urged the audience to work together to address the problem of climate change.  “Sama sama ang pribadong sector, bawat pamilya, bawat bahay, ang lokal na pamahalaan sa pagiwas sa disgrasya at sa Operation L!STO magiging resilient ang ating bansa, basta sama sama at tulong tulong lang tayo”, the Secretary emphasized.

President Benigno Aquino III, together with SILG Mel Sarmiento, Office of Civil Defence (OCD) Deputy Administrator Romeo Fajardo and Gov. Pineda led the distribution of the emergency balde (or e-balde) to the nine (9) Liga Federation President and Vice President of Pampanga, containing essential things that every family needs in case of disaster.

Highlighting the event were testimonials from two (2) recipients of government programs.  Mrs. Amelita Samorin, a Parent Leader from Barangay Sapang Bato, Angeles City shared how the 4Ps is helping her family’s daily survival while Mr. Michael Castro of Brgy. San Vicente. Sto. Tomas, Pampanga detailed how the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) program helped families in their community gain access to potable drinking water.

Towards the end, H.E. Benigno Aquino III rallied behind the government’s effort through Operation L!STO in bringing together all sectors of society in averting the effects of disasters.  “Hindi natin kontrolado ang panahon pero hindi din naman po ibig sabihin na wala na tayong gagawin para mailayo ang ating mga kababayan mula sa mga pangambang panganib na dulot ng anumang sakuna. Nagsisimula ang kaligtasan sa tamang kaalaman at kahandaan at ito nga po ang ginagawa natin sa ilalim ng ating programa”, the President said.

Operation LISTO is an advocacy program launched in 2014 with L!STONG Pamahalaang Lokal that standardized disaster protocols for Mayors on early preparedness, response and monitoring through Disaster Preparedness Manuals.  L!STO Teams were also created at the local level as support for LGUs.

The launching event with the theme Kahandaan at Kabayanihan was conducted in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of National Defense (DND) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

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