The Disaster Risk Reduction Network Philippines (DRRNetPhils) has called for an enhanced support to local mechanisms and structures in order the strengthen local preparedness in times of disaster, as well as strengthen prevention and mitigation efforts and interventions, and to move forward with better coordination and communication mechanisms.
The DRRNet, in a press release, said the “almost non-stop onslaught of natural hazards, which will only be exacerbated by climate change and environmental degradation factors that may result in more health hazards” means there is a need to improve both technical support and resources to every community.
“Successive storms have battered our country in the past three weeks, with one reaching Super Typhoon level. All whilst we are still tackling the pandemic which has had a severe impact affecting lives and livelihoods,” the DRRNet said.
These storms have put to the test not just the country’s front liners but also various plans and preparedness initiatives of local disaster risk reduction and management councils (LDRRMC), communities, and agencies.
It has also stretched the capacity of available resources and mechanisms mandated by our Philippine DRRM law or the R.A. 10121.
The passage of RA 10121, apart from a very long battle led by communities and CSOs, has been pushed by Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) eleven years ago, a typhoon that the NRRNet compared to Typhoon Ulysses’ (Vamco).
“While many policy-makers are calling for a centralized agency to prevent and respond to disasters, it was evident that various groups who responded effectively in the recent typhoons do not belong to one agency alone. Most are members of local councils, community-based organizations who are empowered, strengthened by our present law, R.A. 10121. This has further revealed that disaster risk reduction and management is everyone’s job,” the press release added.
The need to decentralize should be done now more than ever, as a central agency “may not solve all our problems, especially if it does not build on the gains of R.A.10121”
“However, everyone’s meaningful participation in both crafting and implementing plans and policies will certainly leave no one behind,” the DRRNet said, adding, “Disasters affect everyone. Therefore everyone must be part of disaster risk reduction.”