GENERAL SANTOS CITY, SOCCSKSARGEN – Another strategic pact was forged under Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management (A-PAD) Philippines thru the establishment of A-PAD SOCCSKSARGEN Tuesday, Nov. 20 at the Greenleaf Hotel Pavilion, here.
A-PAD Philippines saw SOCCSKSARGEN’s great potential to spearhead a cross-sectoral disaster management alliance in the region and engage its stakeholders in a collaborative effort of addressing the challenge of survival and readiness during the most vulnerable times.
“This region is also at high risk to disasters such as extreme drought and land degradation, among others. It is therefore necessary to engage all local stakeholders in an efficient, timely, and relevant disaster preparedness and response. The regional platform seeks to provide opportunities for DRRM stakeholders to converge and synergize for undertaking local disaster management initiatives,” Dr. Susana Balingit, Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC) Chairperson noted.
These vulnerabilities were considered by the government of Japan as one of the prevailing concerns in the Asia-Pacific Region that needs to be immediately addressed.
Through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government of Japan supported A-PAD Philippines thru its convenors – CDRC and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), Inc. – two of the country’s leading organizations for disaster risk reduction and management to come up with concrete solutions in combating the ill-effects of disasters.
A-PAD Tokyo Management Office Philippine Coordinator Athea Penaloza, conveyed the message of Atsushi Kobayashi of the Embassy of Japan to the attendees, as he can’t be physically present during the momentous ceremony.
“The people of Mindanao are not new to natural disasters. Recent years have shown an increased frequency of typhoons and flooding in Mindanao, making DRR initiatives even more essential for the general public. In this regard, the SOCCSKSARGEN region is ideally suited to host the Regional Platform because of its strategic location in this part of the Philippines,” the message reads.
Athea also conveyed Kobayashi’s hope that “disaster prevention collaboration among the government, private sector and NGOs will further spread even at the regional level, encouraging everyone to continue building their knowledge on disaster fighting measures.”
A-PAD SOCCSKSARGEN, the 4th Regional Platform launched by A-PAD Philippines this year, will serve as a platform for enhancing cooperation and coordination among government, the private sector and non-government organizations.
The key players who will play a crucial role in its success will be spearheaded by the local business chambers and will be composed of entrepreneurs, local government units, academic institutions, media representatives and faith-based organizations, to mention a few.
Other regional platforms which were already launched this year include the Bicol Region, Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas, SOCCSKSARGEN being the 4th. Regional platform launch in the Davao and Ilocos regions will soon follow.
The selection of regional platforms are based on the capacities and initiatives of the local stakeholders, especially the business chambers, CSOs, media, academe and government, to work together for disaster response.
The SOCCSKSARGEN Regional Platform Launch was attended by Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer (MDRRMO) Rene Punzalan for and in behalf of the Governor of Saranggani, Hon. Steve Chiongbian Solon. The city government of General Santos City under the headship of Mayor Ronnel C. Rivera also extended its full support to the said activity.
South Cotabato Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. President Jessie P. Cruz was represented by Rodrigo Baytan.
The historic event was capped by a covenant signing participated in by the various sectors. (A-PAD Philippines)