Bicol delegates in A-PAD workshop
By Jason B. Neola NAGA CITY --- Ferdinand ‘Dondon’ Sia and Joe Perez, president and secretary general, respectively, of the Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI), along with Adolfo ‘Totoy’ Badiola, executive director of the Metro Naga Development Council (MNDC), are out of town attending the 2-day Philippine Strategic Planning Workshop of the Asia-Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management (A-PAD) on June 13-14. The workshop is being held at the Emergency Operations Center of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) in Clark, Pampanga. A-PAD, with its headquarters in Japan fully supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, is a trans-national disaster aid alliance that works to facilitate cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. Presently, it has 800 members from the private sectors located in its member countries, such as Japan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. It is a platform, a framework for collaboration, cooperation and pooling of efforts and sharing of resources between humanitarian organizations, CSOs, private sector, and government units in delivering emergency response and early recovery services, as well as undertaking projects for rehabilitation, disaster risk reduction and addressing the vulnerabilities of peoples and communities. The Asia-Pacific region continues to be the world’s most disaster-prone region. It is at the forefront of trans-boundary initiatives seeking to reduce vulnerabilities of countries to a wide-range of natural and human-induced hazards. Two years ago, key stakeholders from local government, civil society groups, media, and the business sector sought to identify each other’s roles as they ventured to draft agreement through a technical working group meeting held in Naga City to put up a local version of disaster management alliance in Metro Naga. A-PAD Metro Naga was launched in February 2016 with the MNCCI as lead convenor and other agencies/institutions from various sectors as its core members. In January last year, Perez and Badiola, along A-PAD’s technical working group (TWG) from Naga, participated in the A-PAD Philippines International Symposium in Manila. The symposium, attended by delegates from all over Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and Japan and other countries from Southeast Asia sought to mobilize and operationalize a multi-sectoral platform that will be actively involved in implementing DRRM initiatives in the country. A-PAD Metro Naga soon saw its members mobilized to provide relief goods and operations during the strong typhoons that hit Bicol in 2015 and 2016 and the setting up of mobile kitchen that served hot meals to evacuation centers in Albay when Mt. Mayon showed its restiveness and lava emissions for more than two months early this year. A-PAD Metro Naga soon decided to transform itself into A-PAD Bicol with the express approval by A-PAD Philippines to expand membership that will cover the whole region. MNCCI will continue to be the lead convenor with volunteers from other provinces to compose the expanded executive committee.