«by: MA. ALETHA A. NOGRA Civil Def fense Offic III cer Office of Civil D e Defense-Departmen of Natio Defen nt onal nse R Republic o the Philippines ...»
Relocation sites and resettlement areas have been identified and the filling of land for elevation has already started. In one of the resettlement sites, about 600 houses will be built but the government has not decided yet as who will be the respective owners of the houses. We had also the opportunity to see the temporary shelters of 30 families. We were brought to the temporary community center designed by a famous Japanese architecture. A 75-year old grandmother shared her experienced during the earthquake and tsunami. As translated by Prof. Rudyante, she still cannot sleep properly in the nights because of what happened and she is taking medicines to keep her sleep every night. The only problem she mentioned about the temporary shelter is that the noise which comes from children of the affected families.
Radio FMYY in Nagata was established after the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake in 1995 by two Korean nationals living in Nagata during that time. This was initially intended to offer consolation to the victims of the earthquake who have lost their families.
Hearing a familiar voice and music alleviate the suffering of the minorities after the earthquake. Eventually, the radio has become an outlet for the local and foreign people in Nagata to get information after the disaster occurred like as to where to get relief supplies or official information about the situation. Now, FMYY broadcasts in 10 different languages to the local community and is one of many NGOs that joined together in a single community structure named Takatori Community Center.
After the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, twenty-two new community radios were set up and being utilized as an avenue where the communities can get the latest information about the updates of the recovery plan and status done by the government. Government officials talk about the recovery process on air and the people get to be informed and they also monitor the progress of the recovery efforts.
The community radio has provided a two-way mode of communication from the government officials to the communities and vice versa.
A community radio station has a low output frequency that covers relatively a small area where the signal can be received. The radio is resilient during disasters when communications infrastructure and disaster wireless system are destroyed and the means to pass on information to disaster victims is lost. The radio is not affected by large scale blackouts during disasters because and even if the equipment gets damaged, it is relatively easy to put it back into operation. Low output radio station can play a major role in providing detailed disaster information needed by victims in particular areas because the information is collected by the residents themselves to be shared with their local listeners.
VI. Analysis and Recommendations
The Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 is paving the way for every stakeholder in the Philippines to pursue disaster risk reduction and management, integrate them in the local and national development process and build a resilient communities for the country’s sustainable development. Although the country’s DRR efforts have gained a lot of recognition in the past until the present, a great number of development projects with mainstreamed disaster risk reduction are yet to be realized. Government agencies whose roles are equally important in shaping the country’s resilience are already identified as provided for by the Republic Act 10121.
The Climate Change Commission is the lead agency in promoting the country’s climate change adaptation measures with emphasis on the importance of the locally or community-driven DRRM programs. The Department of Science and Technology has continually developed the hydro-meteorological hazard maps in the country which serves as a critical tool in preventing flood-related incidents. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB) takes the lead in the geo-hazard mapping of the country which serves as a basis for preventing and mitigating the impacts of rain-induced landslides and floods. The DOST-PHIVOLCS or Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology takes the lead in seismological hazard-mapping in the country which serves as a tool in preparing for and mitigating the impacts of earthquakes, volcanic eruption and tsunami. These agencies continuously perform their respective mandates under RA 10121. However, these tools need to be constantly communicated with and understood by the communities. In doing this, the cooperation and support of local disaster risk reduction and management councils play an important role. This will pave the way for the construction of resilient infrastructures such as roads, bridges, dams, buildings, schools, hospitals, and also for the business community to prepare for their business continuity plan. The Office of Civil Defense has an equally important and critical role in achieving the goal of resilience. Since the OCD has the primary mission of administering a comprehensive national civil defense national civil defense and disaster risk reduction and management program by providing leadership in the continuous development of strategic and systematic approaches and measures to reduce the vulnerabilities and risks to hazards and manage the consequences of disasters shall continue to embark on its programs, projects and activities in collaboration with various stakeholders from the national down to the grassroots level. Everyone has a role to play in creating a resilient community and eventually a resilient nation.
Japan and Philippines both have a long history of dealing with risks and hazards. In Japan, DRR is mainstreamed in their education system, infrastructure development, business sector, and in their way of life as a result of the past disasters which brought severe devastation in the lives and properties of the Japanese. After every disaster, Japanese authorities, organizations and communities sit down, discuss lessons learned, document them, and make revisions and amendments in their plans, laws and system for further improvement.
The Philippines disaster management system was also shaped by the impacts of natural and human-made disasters which created havoc in the country, but the present law, RA 10121 will pave the way for the mainstreaming of DRR in all aspects of the Filipino way of life. Implementing the provisions of RA 10121 poses a challenge for all Filipinos in our pursuit of safer, adaptive and disaster-resilient communities with a shared experience of national development. However, the role of the business community, the private sector and corporations must be actively engaged in the country’s pursuit for resilience and development.
Philippines has yet to deal with the issue on poverty since the poor are considered to be the most vulnerable especially when disaster strikes. Section 3, letter (f) of the Implementing Rules and regulations (IRR) of RA 10121 posits a challenge for the government to adopt and implement a coherent, comprehensive, integrated, efficient and responsive disaster risk reduction program incorporated in the development plan at various levels adhering to the principles of good governance within the context of poverty alleviation and environmental protection.
In doing so, we need to reach out to more communities, strengthen their organizations and institutionalize DRR agenda in their respective thrusts. Japan’s many jichikai or community-based organizations help their community members cope with the stresses of coping with long stay in the temporary or transition shelters after the March 11, 2011 disaster. These organizations play a major role even in the pre-disaster, during disaster and post-disaster situations.
As I have elaborated earlier, Japan has become the champion of disaster risk reduction as a country because it has long institutionalized the combination of self-help efforts rooted in the awareness of the people and business corporations with the mutual-help efforts of various community-based organizations supported by the public-help efforts of the national and local governments. When the Great East Japan earthquake hit on March 11, 2011 with a magnitude 9, all train system including the bullet trains stopped safely all over Japan. Millions of commuters were stranded on that day and as a result, the government is working on a system where all business sector will be responsible for their own personnel and clientele when such situation will occur again in the future.
But to top it all, the government is advocating for a 72-hour survival and self sufficiency of every individual after a disaster strikes one of their proactive disaster risk reduction measures.
In creating a resilient communities and nation, government policies, laws and regulations play a major role, coupled with business corporate engagement, continuous learning and education and active support and cooperation from individuals, groups and other related organizations. Making a disaster resilient nation starts with nurturing communities to make them resilient against any disaster or emergency.
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