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PASIG CITY – If lessons are to be taken out of the country’s recent experiences with disasters it’s this: Disaster response is not only a matter of the living, but also that of the dead and the missing.

A retrospect of the disasters, both natural and human-induced, that have occurred in recent years shows that there is an increasing trend in the number of the dead and missing persons. A matter which continues to challenge the integrity of the government’s disaster risk reduction and management.

Though the government has already implemented a dedicated policy by the virtue of NDRRMC’s Memo Circular No. 19, s. 2016 responding to this dilemma, much is yet to be done to fully operationalize the principles behind the policy. One of which is to eliminate operational obstacles such as the lack of proper training and knowledge of responders and stakeholders.

In order to address such competency gap, the Local Government Academy in collaboration with the DILG – Central Office Disaster Information Coordinating Center (CODIX) and in partnership with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) conducted 2 batches of training of trainers for the Management of the Dead and Missing (MDM) last May 20-24, 2019 and June 3-7, 2019 at the Linden Suites, Pasig City.

Participants of the training program which are composed of representatives coming from member-agencies of the NDRRMC, NGOs and private organizations for its 1st batch; and representatives from the DILG Regional Offices for the 2nd batch undergone a 5-day training session with blending methodologies employed such as interactive-lecture discussion, workshops, and structure exercises to maximize the learning experience.

For Days 1 and 2, a comprehensive foundational course on MDM was given to participants to give them a better appreciation of its core concepts and principles; which is then complimented with the enhancement of their knowledge on the protocols behind operations involving MDM and the underlying policies and guidelines which governs it.

On Days 3 to 5, concepts were now put into practice as participants get to engage on simulated exercises to apply the concepts and principles they have learned in the first two days by working on past experiences, and likewise get their newly-honed competencies assessed to demonstrate their level of capacity in cascading the MDM Training down to the LGUs.

CASCADING MDM TOWARDS BETTER DRRM

Though it has been recognized that the management of the dead remains as one of the most difficult aspects when it comes to disaster response, capacitated trainers of this training program are now expected to be able to cascade to local government units the vital role that MDM plays in the aftermath of a disaster. Most especially, that of legal norms and the dignity of the deceased and the bereaved families are respected in accordance with their cultural and religious beliefs.

And at the same vein that the core principles, features, roles and responsibilities, and functions of MDM will be upholded at the national down to the local levels.

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