DavOr gov shares ‘best practices’ on disaster management to the world

ASEM

DAVAO ORIENTAL— Taking disaster management a serious matter in the advent of today’s mega disasters, a congregation of representatives from Asia and Europe countries convened last June 4-6 for the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Manila Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, which tapped various speakers to highlight several issues on disaster management.

Davao Oriental Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon, with strong endorsement from the United Nations, DILG, and Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, shared to more than 49 country representatives, her province’s experience as well as best practices in dealing with the disasters that bombarded Davao Oriental for the past few years, including the 2012 Super typhoon Pablo that left three of her towns flattened.

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In her talk, Governor Malanyaon emphasized the importance of forming a concrete plan and coordination systems that can best address immediate needs through the mobilization of organized structures, standard processes, resources and networks. “So many people and so much depends on our next moves … on how fast we can respond to the crisis … and as to how appropriate and adequate will be our responses,” she said.

She cited the province’s formation of a Central Incident Command Post as a central coordinating body to avoid panic and disorder in anticipation of the impending disaster. Gov. Malanyaon said that this post along with its satellites in the affected towns not only served as the center for information, communication, and coordination for delivery of all quick response and emergency relief operations, but also acted as clearing house of all support organizations – the national government agencies, non-government organizations, and private sector groups, leading to the fast response and recovery.

Meanwhile, she also noted the crafting of a comprehensive rehabilitation and development framework plan or the Building Back Better. Serving as basis for proposals, programs and projects toward advocacy to move on and move up, the province engaged the participation of all relevant national agencies and the concerned municipal local government units and even interested NGOs in the province’s journey towards rehabilitation.

She cited partnerships forged between the government with INGOs, private organizations and the like in helping Davao Oriental’s rehabilitation. She lauded this strong collaboration and coordination with the national government and other organizations and INGOs in the fast recovery and rehabilitation of her towns ranging from economic development, permanent shelter provision, restoration of public infrastructures and government services, among others.

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Although massive rehabilitation efforts were relentlessly laid on the ground with apparent and visible results, Governor Malanyaon noted some challenges and gaps her province encountered that hindered implementation of some rehabilitation projects.

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 Among them is the overly centralized bureaucracy that prolongs implementation of projects to and that there were no special windows for disaster-stricken LGUs in the processing of permits with different agencies for disaster responses. “One concrete example is the provision for resettlement sites which requires a very tedious process of completing the long list of requirements imposed by no less than five agencies with some agencies performing their official functions in Manila,” she said. “The holding of two elections last year caused disruptions to our rehabilitation operations for about six months because of a 90-day ban on the implementation of some projects every election period,” she added.

Governor Malanyaon recommended appropriate corrective measures to address these serious concerns in order to make disaster interventions more responsive, appropriate and timely, considering the urgency of required interventions in disaster situations.

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President Benigno S. Aquino III

Governor Malanyaon’s insights together with inputs from other speakers will be used in the crafting of ‘Tacloban Declaration’ which will contain proposals to better manage mega disasters. This will be reported to the ASEM 10 Summit in Milan on October.

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Meanwhile, President Benigno S. Aquino III who graced the ASEM conference urged its members to continue working together as a global community to address the problem of climate change by deepening cooperation to give rise to a world that is safer and more resilient. “This is our only planet, and it is our duty as its citizens to do everything in our power not just to protect it, but to improve it, and make it better than it ever has been,” he said. BY PIO

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