Geneva – Mayors from across the disaster-affected island of Mindanao are to petition the President of the Philippines, Benigno C. Aquino Jr., to allow the use of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund for prevention and mitigation activities at local level as part of a nine-point plan of action agreed at the weekend.
The meeting was attended by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, who said: “I am very encouraged to see how people at different national levels are willing to work together and learn from each other to be better equipped when the next disaster happens as there will be a next time.”
Last December, more than 1,268 lives were lost and some 440,000 people were affected by Typhoon Sendong in the Mindanao region. A report of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) estimated Php59.23-Billion (US$1.38 billion) as the total direct and indirect losses caused by typhoons, floods and landslides in 2011; Sendong accounted for Php17.48-Billion (US$407.7 million) of those losses.
UNISDR champion, Governor Joey Salceda of Albay, hosted the two-day meeting on “Building a Resilient Mindanao” in Legazpi, Albay, which resulted in the plan of action which draws on the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters.
Mayors and local government representatives from across Mindanao including the two cities which bore the brunt of Typhoon Sendong, Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, agreed a raft of measures including the creation of local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and that all infrastructure projects should be risk-sensitive and climate-smart and to “assess safety of public infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, markets, bridges, health centers, government buildings, and other social infrastructures.”
Mayor Nenita Suvao of the municipality of Kalilangan, said: “Sendong has acted as a wake-up call for all of us and this is why I came here because I wanted to learn more from other mayors about the financing mechanisms in place and what can be done to better ensure the protection of my citizens against climate risks.”