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Reducing risks from natural hazards through the Resilience Project

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By Stephanie Tumampos / Correspondent

PHILIPPINE national, local and international agencies once again joined hands in efforts to reduce risks from and contribute to measures to quickly respond to natural disasters in the country.

The new collaboration was made possible through the signing on Thursday of a memorandum of agreement on Enhancing Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration toward the Resilience Project.

The agreement signing was led by Dr. Nathaniel T. Servando, administrator of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa); Undersecretary Eduardo del Rosario, administrator of Office of Civil Defense and executive director and national program director of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRMMC); Toshihiro Tanaka, country director of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP); and Luke Myers, head of cooperation Canadian International Development Agency (Cida), together with the heads of agencies, municipalities and provinces of the National Capital Region, Central Luzon and Calabarzon.

It was witnessed by training participants who are observers and caretakers of the early-warning hydrological equipment that will be installed in identified areas. The participants were trained for four days from March 3 to 6 at the First Pacific Leadership Academy in Antipolo City.

The Resilience Project is supported by foreign partners, such as Cida and UNDP.

Servando said the Typhoon Ondoy (international name Ketsana) that brought damage to the country, proved to be a “powerful catalyst” for Filipinos to consider early-warning services in Metro Manila.

It paved the way for opportunities, assistance and renewed partnership among the local government units (LGUs), as well as the private sector and academe, he said in the program held at Pagasa in Quezon City.

Del Rosario said because of natural disasters, increased importance in disaster and risk management, greater cooperation and integration of efforts are emphasized in local governments.

The establishment of the Metro Manila-Rizal Network and the Resilience Project is aimed to reduce the risks from natural hazards and contribute to efforts for the welfare of the people in responding to natural disasters by enhancing the capacities of LGUs and other stakeholders.

This will empower good governance in disaster-risk reduction and management and significantly enhance the early-warning system within the Pasig-Marikina-Tullahan river basin.

The installation of hydrological monitoring facilities will ensure that there will be advances in the flood early-warning system for Metro Manila which is currently managed by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.

The installation of the equipment will be finished before the Holy Week in the fourth week of March. The data that will be obtained from the hydrological equipment will be accessible only to the people involved in disaster preparedness, such as the LGUs and eventually, public access will be given soon.

UNDP’s Tanaka said the signing of the agreement was a good example of complementing each other not only in the country but also in international communities.

He also cited the need for the implementation of solid-waste management to ensure clean rivers and create livelihood to the community.

Cida, on the other hand, provided financial support of about C$6 million in emergency relief.

Simulated flood drills were conducted after the agreement signing at three project areas in pilot barangays, including Barangay Bagong Ilog in Pasig City, Barangay San Roque in Cainta and Barangay Nangka in Marikina. They were participated in by the LGUs and residents of the respective areas.