DAVAO CITY – On January 24, A-PAD Philippines’ 5th regional platform was launched at The Grand Menseng Hotel, here to signal the solid convergence of the business sectors, academe, media and other stakeholders to strengthen its common resolve to “save more lives in less time.”
The A-PAD Davao Regional Platform launch was graced by no less than the Consul General, Consulate General of Japan in Davao City, Hon. Yoshiaki Miwa who cited the significant role of the private sector in disaster response.
Miwa said that in times of disaster, not only the communities are affected but also the continuity of the business sector, making disaster risk reduction response even more essential. He also stressed the role of A-PAD in efficiently handling coordination with the government agencies, its private partners and other NGOs which resulted to an immediate outpouring of positive response.
‘A-PAD GAINS GROUND’
This pioneering cross-sectoral and private sector-led regional platform also received warm praises from its newly found partners in Davao City. One of which is the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) XI which sees the convergence as an effective vehicle not just in enhancing efforts that would reduce risk among the most vulnerable members of the society but boost their capability in disaster management.
“The programs you have identified, such as expansion and strengthening the participation of the private sector and other organizations; creation of pre-arrangement on services and resources with partners; facilitating disaster response and the acceptance of disaster relief in the country from the international community; capacity building; establishing measures for distribution implementation, monitoring and reporting; and sharing of experience, information, research and other resources are closely aligned with the country’s objectives in strengthening the DRRM agenda,” OCD XI Regional Director Manuel Luis Ochotorena stated during the said launching.
Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) President Arturo Milan aligned the platform launch to the agriculture sector considered as the prime mover of the economy.
“Today’s gathering is significant as we are an economy driven by the Agriculture sector. Every time this natural catastrophe strikes, many farms and establishments suffer. Adding to this are those damage caused by civil unrest particularly in the city outskirts resulting to a minimized to zero produce,” Milan stressed.
He further stated that the DCCCII’s challenge is to ensure the “sustainable flow of trade and commerce in the area,” and highlighted the importance of advocating disaster-resilient businesses that could sustain the economic lifeline despite the ill-effects of natural hazards and devastation.
While calamities cannot be avoided, retired Philippine National Police Officer, PSUPT Alfredo D. Baluran who now serves his fellowmen as the Officer-In-Charge of the Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office believes that doing nothing when disaster strikes can even be worst than any effects of a disastrous event.
“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of disasters and other calamities, but because of people who do not do anything about it,” Baluran said.
He lauded A-PAD Philippines for its deep aspiration to promote the “building-back principle in disaster management by engaging the private sector groups as its partner, together with the government.
‘A-PAD Phils. shares message of gratitude’
A-PAD Philippines, through Citizen’s Disaster Response Center’s (CDRC) Board of Trustee Member Hans Schaap in appreciation of all the efforts of its partners, expressed his positive reception of the new partnership that will usher a new perspective on how disaster resilience can be achieved, most especially by susceptible and high-risk communities.
“The regional platform is a collective expression of local stakeholder’s readiness to respond appropriately in times of disaster, deliver timely and relevant relief operation and assist the immediate needs of survivors,” Schaap stressed.
He put a noteworthy emphasis on the fact that disaster risk reduction and management is not only the work of a single entity, of the government in particular but should be a “shared responsibility among the community, private sector and the government.”
Schaap thanked everyone for imparting their time despite their busy schedules, other pre-occupations and other commitments, making the event more meaningful and inspiring.
The partners sealed their commitment by affixing their signatures in the covenant. Signatories include the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. Tagum City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, South Eastern Mindanao RG, Davao Sur Chamber of Commerce Incorporated, PHILEXPORT Region XI, International Pharmaceutical Incorporated Fdn., Ass. of Private Human Resource Practitioners of Tagum City, Rizal Memorial Colleges, Broadcasting Corporation, INFOMEDIA Resource Management Incorporated, Mindanao Media Broadcast Network Group, Inc., Assumption College of Davao, Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Incorporated, Rotary Club of North Davao, Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura, Sisters’ Association in Mindanao BALSA, Mindanao METSA Foundation and Philippine Information Agency (PIA) XI.
A-PAD Phils. is jointly convened by the Citizen’s Disaster Response Center (CDRC) and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF). CDRC is a non-government organization that pioneered and continues to promote community-based disaster management through its 16 regional centers in the Philippines. PDRF is the country’s major private sector vehicle and coordinator for disaster risk reduction and management.