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Pasig City – After three years of capacity development on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptability, local representatives from the Provinces of Zambales, Northern Samar, Negros Occidental, and Davao Occidental look back on the accomplishments of the Strengthening the Capacities of Philippine Local Governments in Disaster Risk Reduction (SCPLG - DRR) project during the 7th Project Steering Committee (PSC) meeting last January 30, 2019.

AECID Coordinator General Juna Pita Rodrigañez and LGA Executive Director Thelma T. Vecina presided the 7th and last PSC meeting, which was attended by DILG Region VI Director Ariel O. Iglesia, DILG Region VIII Director Artemio B. Caneja and other provincial representatives. The meeting served as the avenue to communicate the results of the project. Mr. Rey Gerona presented the project evaluation results outlining the overall project performance, along with the gains and shortcomings of the project, recommendations, and ways forward in sustaining the outcomes of the program.

One of the significant impacts of the three-year project is the upscaling of capacities of local communities in the pilot provinces on disaster risk reduction and management and climate change adaptation. Moreover, the project also resulted in the prioritization and proactive stance of local governments on disaster risk reduction through the integration of DRR – CCA initiatives and measures on local policies, plans, and budgets.

Representatives from the DILG and the provincial government expressed their appreciation of the benefits brought about by the partnership between LGA and the AECID. Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer (PDRRMO) Rei Josiah Echano of Northern Samar has this to testify about the impact of the project:

“The LGA – AECID partnership has sparked a high level of strategy among LGUs. [It] has promoted a certain level of unity in all our workers in Northern Samar. What we will be doing in the future will be built on the gains of the project…There are a lot of breakthroughs that set the tone for the realization of science-based plans which have been neglected since time immemorial. That is the impact on our community."

Mr. Jonnel B. Edillar, the DILG Municipal Local Government Operations Officer of San Antonio Zambales whose communities are vulnerable to disasters said that the partnership has enhanced the capacities of first responders in their province:

"Those funds enabled us to capacitate our LDRRMCs down to the barangay level for them to be more capacitated in responding to disasters. We are vulnerable to disasters, and despite the challenges we've encountered, we are thankful for the support of LGA in assisting us in conducting the activities".

Ways Forward

Coordinator General Mr. Rodrigañez expressed his interest in future engagements in supporting the country's initiatives for disaster preparedness and climate change adaptability. He also highlighted the important role that knowledge management will play in setting the right context and perspective to come up with better analyses of the impact imposed by disasters.

Towards the end of the meeting, LGA Executive Director Vecina called on the LGUs to prioritize disaster preparedness programs in light of the Supreme Court's ruling on the Mandanas Case taking effect in 2022 which will see LGUs having a significant increase on their Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA). She likewise encouraged the pilot provinces to sustain the gains of the project, and consider data governance in coming up with sound decisions at the local level.

 

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