BAGUIO CITY Dec. 29 -- Office of Civil Defense Administrator Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad challenged local governments, groups, and individuals to pursue excellence in disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) for the overall benefit of the environment and the nation as a whole in the realization of zero casualty during the occurrence of natural and man-made calamities in the future.
Jalad, who served as the guest of honor and speaker during the recent regional awarding of winners of the Gawad Kalamidad at Sakuna Labanan Sariling Galing ang Kaligtasan (KALASAG) at the Baguio Country Club, urged the local officials, groups, and individuals to continue exceeding their accomplishments on DRRM to be able to empower people to be resilient during the occurrence of calamities in their places.
While there has been a continuous decrease in the number of casualties during the onslaught of natural and man-made calamities in the different parts of the country, the OCD chief admitted the country still has a long way to go in terms of mainstreaming DRRM among local governments because of the various priorities of elected officials.
“We will have to intensify our efforts to empower local officials to embrace disaster risk reduction and management as one of their priorities because of its importance in saving lives from being exposed to extreme danger. We have to continue providing the right direction to local officials who continue to be less receptive on DRRM as a priority in their areas of jurisdiction,” Jalad stressed.
On one hand, he said the increasing awareness of Filipinos on DRRM indicate the gains of the government in inculcating the minds of the people on the importance of being resilient in responding to programs and projects of government in relation to the four thematic areas of DRRM like preparedness, prevention and mitigation, response, and repair and rehabilitation.
The Undersecretary also presented the need for the OCD to be converted into a regular department so it will not only serve as a coordinating body, considering it has the mandate of putting in place short, medium, and long term DRRM programs beneficial for the greater majority of the Filipinos frequently exposed to natural and man-made disasters, especially that the country is a calamity-stricken nation.
He pointed out one of the major problems of the agency is the allocation of funds primarily for rehabilitation purposes instead of pouring the funding for preparedness, prevention and mitigation and response which are also equally important aspects of DRRM that needs immediate attention although concerned government agencies responsible for such interventions are doing the best they could to work out the implementation of effective and efficient DRRM. (Dexter A. See-Baguio City Hall PIO)