Esperanza’s disaster management plan lauded by international NGO

BAYUGAN CITY, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews/11 June) – The Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Plan of Esperanza town, the first among local government units nationwide,  is a “laudable initiative and truly one of the first around the world,”  Barbara Stocking, chief executive  officer of Oxfam Great Britain Chief said.

Stocking, who oversees the operation of Oxfam in 60 countries, said that in a world faced with climate change, it is important for local governments to have pro active action on disaster risk management and climate change adaptation.

Esperanza Mayor Leonida P. Manpatilan said  they made the DRM Plan an urgent task as the town is situated right in the Agusan Marsh and by the mighty Agusan River.

The mayor said they started crafting the plan even before the passage of Republic Act 10121 or the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.

Manpatilan handed a copy of their Comprehensive DRM Plan to Stockings and Oxfam Hong Kong Director John Sayer in a visit here Wednesday.

Oxfam and the Kasanyagan Rural Development Foundation, Inc. (KRDFI) had assisted the municipality in DRM planning and in equipping grassroots communities with disaster risk reduction management by organizing Resiliency Learning Groups or RLGs.

RLGs are organized in all barangays with emphasis on women participation. The DRM plan also makes the municipal budget climate change- and disaster- resilient. At least 5% of their budget is appropriated for disaster risk mitigation and response.

Esperanza town is considered highly vulnerable to climate change impacts and high disaster risk.

Manpatilan said the Plan is the implementation at the local level of  RA10121.

In a privilege speech last week in commemoration of World Environment Day (WED), Senator Loren Legarda had urged local government units nationwide to integrate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in local planning.

She said the country’s 340 local government units need to integrate DRR and CCA in local planning.

“Basin 339 na lang, (Maybe only 339 LGUs left),” Manpatilan jokingly told MindaNews.

As part of its policy advocacy efforts, Oxfam is supporting the passage of the law that would establish the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) which would raise at least two billion pesos for climate change adaptation finance and disaster risk reduction.

The PSF bill is principally authored by House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada and by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

Legarda had urged President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to certify as urgent the PSF Bill when he delivers his second State of the Nation Address on July 25. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin/MindaNews)