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Proposed "Disaster Code" takes center stage at DRRM Summit

By Nimfa Estrellado PDRRMO demonstrates proper preparation and response to emergency first aid, emphasizing the importance of coordination a...

By Nimfa Estrellado

Proposed "Disaster Code" takes center stage at DRRM Summit
PDRRMO demonstrates proper preparation and response to emergency first aid, emphasizing the importance of coordination and quick action in saving lives at the DRRM Summit on July 9, 2024, in Lucena City, Quezon. (Photo from Quezon PIO)

LUCENA CITY, Quezon - Quezon Province, recently devastated by Typhoon Aghon, sent a resounding message of resilience and preparedness at a groundbreaking Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Summit to showcase its commitment to disaster resilience held on July 9, 2024: "We will not be caught unprepared."

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), under the leadership of Dr. Melchor Avenilla Jr., organized a summit to unveil innovative strategies and propose legislation aimed at safeguarding lives and property against future hazards.

The summit also brought together key figures, including Quezon Governor Angelina "Doktora Helen" Tan, Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) CALABARZON Regional Director Carlos Eduardo Alvarez III, and a diverse group of stakeholders from various sectors, such as local government units, non-government organizations, and private sector representatives.

The summit highlighted the importance of collaboration and coordination in disaster risk reduction efforts to build resilient communities and minimize the impact of future disasters . It emphasized the need for proactive measures, early warning systems, and community preparedness to effectively respond to emergencies and mitigate risks. The participants also discussed best practices and innovative strategies to enhance disaster resilience at the local level.

Avenilla expressed deep gratitude for the collective efforts of all participants and reaffirmed the PDRRMO's unwavering commitment to prioritizing disaster preparedness and response. Additionally, he emphasized the importance of continuous learning and adaptation in the face of evolving threats, stating, "We must remain vigilant and proactive, constantly refining our strategies and strengthening our partnerships to ensure the safety and resilience of our communities."

He also vowed more engagement with communities to raise awareness and build capacity for disaster risk reduction, recognizing the crucial role of local knowledge and participation in effective resilience-building efforts. Furthermore, Avenilla pledged to explore new technologies and tools to further improve disaster response capabilities and ensure timely and efficient assistance during emergencies.

In her address, Governor Tan commended the PDRRMO's relentless efforts to bolster the province's disaster preparedness and response capabilities. "While we pray that no disaster befalls us," she said, "my experience has taught me that preparedness is an absolute must."

She also emphasized the crucial role of collaboration among all stakeholders in forging a resilient community that can effectively confront and overcome the challenges presented by natural disasters, stating, "By working hand in hand, sharing knowledge and resources, we can build a stronger, safer future for all."

A highlight of the summit was the presentation of the proposed "Disaster Code" by Board Member John Joseph Aquivido, championed by Board Member Vinette Alcala. This comprehensive code is designed to streamline disaster response procedures, delineate clear roles and responsibilities for involved agencies, and optimize resource allocation during emergencies.

The code aims to provide a comprehensive framework for disaster management, covering everything from risk assessment and mitigation to emergency response and recovery. It will also address issues such as early warning systems, evacuation procedures, and the provision of relief and assistance to affected communities. Aquivido stressed the code's potential to not only enhance the province's resilience but also empower DRRMOs and first responders with a robust legal framework to carry out their critical duties.

The provincial government also reiterated its strong commitment to establishing a Magna Carta for DRRMOs. This proposed legislation aims to provide a comprehensive set of rights, benefits, and protections for DRRMO personnel, recognizing the crucial role they play in disaster preparedness and response.

It would address issues such as fair compensation, hazard pay, insurance coverage, training and professional development opportunities, and clear career progression pathways. The Magna Carta is seen as a vital step in ensuring that DRRMOs are well-equipped and supported to effectively carry out their duties in protecting the lives and livelihoods of Quezon Province residents.

The summit also served as a platform to recognize the invaluable contributions of towns and QPDRRMC members to effective disaster response. A symposium was conducted to equip participating DRRMOs with enhanced knowledge and skills, further strengthening their ability to safeguard lives and property.

Under the theme "Bantayog ng Katatagan at ang pagbubuklod sa Layuning Kahandaan," the summit embodied Quezon Province's steadfast dedication to disaster resilience. The event not only showcased the progress made but also emphasized the ongoing commitment to fostering a culture of preparedness and collaboration in the face of potential hazards.

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