Philippines’ new disaster management framework unveiled

Friday, June 17, 2011

Philippines’ new disaster management framework unveiled

MANILA, June 17 (PIA) -- The Aquino administration on Thursday unveiled a new disaster management policy document that will provide an effective foundation in dealing with disasters while minimizing their impact on the growth potential of the country.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRM) Framework is a product of months of consultation among stakeholders in disaster management, pursuant to Republic Act 10121, or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, which calls for the implementation of a comprehensive management approach at all levels to cut down the socio-economic and environmental costs of disasters.

"We mark another milestone in the series of vital documents dedicated to reduce impact of disasters," Ochoa said in his speech delivered during the signing ceremony held at the Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

"This is an inspiring document that will strengthen the unity and resolve of communities to defend themselves from disasters. And this is a forceful document that will protect every development gain from risk, shield every growth accomplishment from danger," Ochoa pointed out.

The framework, he said, is also in line with the 2000 United Nations Millennium Development Goals, the Hyogo Framework for Action of 2005 and the 2009 ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response.

According to the Executive Secretary, the new disaster management framework is an immediate shift from the traditional top-down and centralized management effort to bottom-up approach that is community-driven.

"A purely physical approach to disaster risk reduction will fail without considering the collective will of communities to reduce their own vulnerable points," said Ochoa, who chairs the Cabinet Security, Justice, and Peace cluster and is a member of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Ochoa said the new framework includes reducing disaster risks in its greater integrated approach to achieving real social and human development – a sharp departure from the ad hoc disaster response approach of various disaster preparedness teams created in the past.

Recent studies showed that annually, the average direct damages caused by disasters reached as high as P15 billion and typhoons alone hurt the Gross Domestic Product by 0.5 percent, thus setting back development programs and initiatives.

Ochoa cited the devastating 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in Japan last March, which left thousands of people dead and buildings destroyed and a nuclear mess, underscored the need for the Philippines to come up with a broader comprehensive disaster management program given its geography and apparent risk for natural disasters.

"We need to prepare now. Sooner than we expect it, our preparedness as individuals and communities – and as a nation – might be tested by the unforgiving forces of nature. There is little time to prepare – but prepare we must," Ochoa said.

He said Japan and its people have given the Philippines “an inspiring model on their preparedness to face disaster," particularly on the "sense of community” that they have shown to the world.

"In our case, we must harness a time-honored value in the Filipino heart. I am referring to the bayanhinan spirit. Let this spirit be given full expression in our collective passion and desire to protect ourselves – and then to advance together," he said.

Ochoa, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Austere Panadero, Social Welfare Assistant Secretary Patricia Luna, Socio-economic Planning Undersecretary Augusto Santos, Science and Technology Undersecretary Graciano Yumul signed the NDRRM Framework.

Also present at the signing ceremony were Office of the Civil Defense Director Ronald Flores and Defense Undersecretaries Benito Ramos and Eduardo Batac. - - Austere Panadero

Boracay, Aklan