By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay
NAGA CITY --- Emanating from a small group of different private and public partners, the Metro Naga chapter of Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Managemnt (A-PAD) Philippines scaled up and convened regional key stakeholders to form the A-PAD Bicol Regional Platform.
In a simple yet historic A-PAD Bicol Regional Platform launch held July 13 at the Avenue Plaza Hotel here, City Mayor John G. Bongat welcomed the participants and expressed appreciation for this pioneering effort to converge various sectors to work towards one common vision of building a resilient community.
“My heartfelt gratitude to A-PAD and for its dynamic collaboration with the Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) that led to the creation of A-PAD Metro Naga. Before, government works all by itself. Now, we need some convergence and A-PAD Bicol regional launching is one big step in the right direction,” Bongat added.
Bongat showcased the city’s commendable initiatives when it comes to raising the bar of disaster preparedness in the local level.
Naga City passed City Ordinance No.20178-007 “institutionalizing a community-level disaster preparedness training program focusing on community first responders and basic life support training for representatives or families”, among others.
Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) President Rene “Butch” Meily commended these efforts and said that the city is really way ahead in terms of preparations as compared to other areas in the country.
Citizens Disaster Response Network (CDRN) Chairperson Jazmin A. Jerusalem also graced the occasion and shared her invaluable experiences in effectively responding to disasters based from her 30 years of experience in the field of humanitarian assistance.
Midori Yajima, current program coordinator in the Philippines of Tokyo-based A-PAD said that she is happy to be a part of the Bicol launching in Naga City.
“A-PAD is here to facilitate the grant assistance project supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan. In behalf of A-PAD office, it is a great honor for me to join the launching of this event today. I am happy to participate in this special occasion since this regional platform is the first one of the six regional platforms to be launched by A-PAD Philippines,” Yajima added.
Business chambers coming from various provinces also graced the occasion, together with representatives from the academe, business sectors and disaster risk reduction and management offices.
Presidential Adviser for Bicol Affairs USEC Judge Marvel Clavecilla conveyed the government’s support to the endeavor and said that A-PAD’s programs are welcomed under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
He thanked the Japanese government for their concern and continuing support to the Philipppines.
A-PAD Philippines National Coordinator Maricris A. Biñas commended all the stakeholders for being a part of this pioneering cross-sectoral and private sector led regional platform which will serve as an effective vehicle for coordination and collaboration towards community disaster resilience.