Honorable Osita Vergara, Local Chief Executive of Lian, Batangas and concurrent Chairperson of its Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MDRRMC) led a meeting last 14 April 2011 to discuss the DRR budgetary process and other concerns for the municipality. More specifically, the local disaster council talked about allocating five percent budget from the Municipal Internal Revenue Allocation to finance its Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management commitment. Concrete gains are the allocation of P 1,156,248.78 (30% of the 5% from IRA) for Emergency Response activities and P 2,697,913.82 (70% of the 5% from IRA) for Disaster Preparedness, Mitigation and Rehabilitation initiatives. The said session was facilitated by Ms. Maria Isabel B. Lanada, Project Technical Facilitator of the Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA), the social development unit of the De La Salle University (DLSU) Manila. Representatives from the following offices also attended the mentioned activity: Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO), Rural Health Unit (RHU), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Association of Barangay Captains (ABC), Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO), Municipal Health Office (MHO), Lian DRR Office, local Department of Education (DepEd) office, Municipal Social Welfare Office (MSWDO) and the local Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) office. Other highlights include the following: a). the status of the institutionalization and mainstreaming of the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Law currently being undertaken by the Sangguniang Bayan; b). the planned DRR Orientation for the Association of the Barangay Captains on May 21-23, 2011 in Palawan; c). plans for April 22, 2011 Earth Day Celebration, where the municipality will turn off their lights for one hour from 5:00am to 6:00am as part of their solidarity and cooperation with groups advocating for climate change adaptation. The council likewise, conceptualized a municipal level disaster drill and a series of disaster campaign activities from May to July 2011. This will also serve as the culminating activity for the celebration of disaster month in July. As part of the continuing DRR capacity building for the MDRRMC of Lian, the project will also undertake a site visit of the MDRRMC operations in the province of Albay this May 25-27, 2011. The objectives of the site visit are as follows: a). to understand and comprehend in practical terms DRR preparatory activities; and b). to gain knowledge and skills in DRR systems and mechanisms by the province of Albay. The MDRRMC of Lian has in fact allotted funds for this. The council was also able to plan the set of parallel activities to be conducted by the DRR Project Technical Facilitator and the different offices in Lian. These include the following: a). an orientation on climate change (July 1, 2011) for PTA Officers; b). structural evaluation of infrastructures such as bridges, ports and buildings within Lian by DPWH; c). DRR preparations and food security by MAO to include seed banking and nursery of hardwood and fruit trees, and mangrove conservation; and d). propagation of disaster resilient crops and a training on Organic Farming and Diversified Integrated Farming Systems will be launched, also in partnership with the MAO. Also in the pipeline is the formulation and implementation of a system on emergency response. Activities related to this are the following: a). Disaster Needs Capacities Assessment (DNCA); b). Relief Delivery Operations (RDO); and c). Evacuation Management. As part of the DRR education and information campaign, the MDRRMC is planning to hold a motorcade within Lian. This is to provide DRR related information to the residents as well as to impart the culture of safety among the community members. Flyers, brochures and posters will be distributed to all barangays of the municipality. These mentioned plans including the necessary budget will be submitted by the MDRRMC to the Sangguning Bayan for review and approval. A copy will then be furnished to the local Commission on Audit (COA).
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Director, Center for Social Concern and Action
National Capital Region