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Assessing the risks towards safety

Zim Philip G. Bantug is a newly hired staff of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) in Lawaan, Eastern Samar. Prior to working for this organization, he has served as a radio communicator in an NGO for 5 years. Philip’s first day of work at the MDRRM Office coincided with the Participatory Capacity Vulnerability Assessment (PCVA) workshop conducted by the Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP) and he was among the participants.

“At first, I thought that disaster response is my only work as part of the MDRRMO. But through the workshop, I learned that risk assessment and planning are also essential processes to be able to provide appropriate, efficient, and timely response during disasters.” he said. The PCVA is a process intended to help the local government unit (LGU) staff, communities, and civil society organizations (CSOs) to understand the capacity and vulnerability of a certain locality in the context of disaster. PCVA provides a strong basis for designing, planning, executing, and evaluating practical strategies to reduce disaster risk.

The PCVA workshop offered a venue for Philip to learn about the basic concepts of DRRM, community-based disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) process, and risk assessment which are all critical in understanding the local dynamics of vulnerability and identify appropriate actions towards safety and resilience. He mentioned that he was able to appreciate the importance of the hazard map by identifying the hazards and threats affecting the people, knowing who should be prioritized during emergencies, and providing valuable information for safe evacuation.

Furthermore, Philip shared that through the PCVA workshop, he was able to understand the bulk of work that DRRM entails, especially the need to strengthen and improve information sharing between the Barangay DRRM Committees and MDRRMO to be able to provide timely and coordinated response. Through his own initiative, he started reaching out to fifteen (15) barangays to re-activate the use of their handheld radios for faster communication with regard to hazards, emergencies, and accidents. He envisions that these 15 barangays will be capacitated like Barangay Taguite which has an active BDRRM Committee.

To test the communication protocol on emergency response and other response mechanisms of the entire municipality, Philip recommended that an actual drill should be conducted in all the barangays. Exposing the communities in realistic scenarios would enable them to prepare more effectively towards survival and the protection of their wellbeing.

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