Philippines Supports UN Disaster Awareness Initiatives

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Philippine government said it supports a United Nations (UN) initiative raising awareness on disasters to make vulnerable communities much safer.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction head, Margareta Wahlström, have urged disaster-prone countries like the Philippines to make “disaster risk reduction” a household word.

In a radio interview on Sunday, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said such an initiative is already being done by the Aquino administration.

Disaster risk reduction has been the priority of the Aquino government and has incorporated it in the pillars of its Philippine Development Plan.

Among the government agencies involved in the initiative include the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Climate Change Commission.

The President heads the Climate Change Commission and is being supported by Secretary Lucille Sering, its vice chairperson.

The government has also implemented the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, he said noting that the Aquino government is the first administration to implement such law.

One of the law’s provisions is the conduct of review of government initiatives after five years with a main objective of creating a national organization and infrastructure for disaster risk reduction, Coloma stressed.

The President heads the hierarchy of responders from national to local levels to get everyone involved, according to Coloma.

The objective is to inculcate a culture of safety to communities and make them more disaster-resilient during calamities, he noted. –