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Pasay City – Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC) and Philippine Disaster Response Foundation (PDRF) with the support of the Embassy of Japan launched the Philippine national platform of the Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management (A-PAD) today at Hotel Jen Manila. This was preceded by panel discussions of foreign disaster risk and reduction (DRR) practitioners and A-PAD country representatives from South Korea, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, and Sri Lanka on best practices in engaging with local and national governments. They were joined by local DRR experts who expressed support for A-PAD Philippines’ program.
“There is urgency for cooperation among private and public sectors as well as civil society organizations in the Philippines for disaster management before, during, after a disaster”, asserted Dr. Susana Balingit, Chairperson of CDRC.
The said platform provides a framework for collaboration, cooperation, and pooling of efforts. Drawn from the bayanihan spirit, this also outlines how resources can be shared between organizations, institutions, and governments.
Rene “Butch” Meily, President of PDRF notes that one of the current objectives of A-PAD Philippines is to expand and strengthen participation of the private sector in the national level in order to facilitate the sharing of services, experiences, information, and research. This is essential in enhancing disaster response and acceptance of aid into the country which is highly prone to strong typhoons such as Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) which hit Leyte, Samar, and Northern Cebu in 2013.
“One of the many lessons we learned from Haiyan is that the private sector has an important role to play during all phases of a disaster – from preparedness to relief, recovery and rehabilitation. The A-PAD weaves together a diverse network of private sector groups from different countries. We are stronger when we work together and achieve a collective impact than working individually”, Meily adds.
“Disaster risk reduction is a shared responsibility of the government, communities, businesses, and individuals,” Senator Loren Legarda emphasized in her keynote speech.
Mr Faisal Djalal, A-PAD Asia-Pacific’s Chairperson, welcomed the initiative. “This will further promote A-PAD’s goals to partners in different countries in transferring knowledge and best practices to other national platforms,” he says.
On the countrywide and Asia-Pacific level, the newly established alliance believes in the people’s capacity to respond, manage, and prevent disasters. However, current circumstances emphasize the need for everyone to work together. “A-PAD Philippines believes that there is a lot of potential for partnerships to be fostered with organizations, businesses, and individuals who are interested in the rehabilitation of the environment and in the delivery of services to the least served and most vulnerable sectors of our society,” maintains Lourdes Louella Escandor, Trustee of CDRC.
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