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Samar Disaster Risk Reduction Summit
MGen Jet B. Velarmino (standing right), commander 8th Infantry Division, while presenting his lecture on Incident Command Post System During Typhoon to the participants of Samar Disaster Risk Reduction Summit at 8ID covered court on May 5, 2015.

8ID hosts the Samar Risk Reduction Management Council Summit

May 7, 2015

CAMP VICENTE LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – The 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army hosted the Samar Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) Council Summit at its Headquarters in Barangay Maulong, Catbalogan City Samar on May 5, 2015.

The summit was attended by the different stakeholders of Samar and Region-8 led by Maj. Gen. Jet B. Velarmino AFP, Commander 8ID; Hon. Sharee Ann T. Tan, Governor of Western Samar; Mr. Rey M. Gozon, Regional Director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD8); Mr. Pedro A. Noval Jr., Regional Director of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG8); Ms. Victoria F. Esber, Regional Director of the Civil Service Commission (CSC8); Dr. Imelda C. Laceras, Regional Director of Department of Budget and Management (DBM8); Mr. Delfin P. Aguilar, Regional Director of Commission on Audit (COA8); Mr. Judy L. Batulan, DILG of Western Samar; Mr. Manuel Van Torrevillas, Provincial Risk Reduction Management Officer of Samar; Ms. Natividad O. Silorio, Area Manager Plan International Inc.; and the Local Chief Executives of Samar.

The Summit had a variety of resource speakers coming from the Army, LGUs, LGAs and the private sector who shared their expertise and experiences in addressing disasters.

On the part of 8ID, Maj. Gen Velarmino presented the Incident Command Post System which the Army Command implemented during the Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in 2013; Mr. Ruel Maga of SURGE presented the concept of their group in helping communities be resilient during disasters; Hon. Moreno, Brgy Captain of Solsogon, Sta. Margarita, Samar presented their actions taken prior, during and after Typhoon Yolanda. While RD Gozon presented the Republic Act 10121 or the Act of Strengthening the Philippine DRRM System, the National DRRM framework, and institutionalization of the National DRRM Plan, as well as the appropriation of funds.

The highlight of the summit was the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) by the Hon. Sharee Ann Tan, Hon. Danny V. Tan, RD Rey M. Gozon, DILG Judy L. Batulan and Natividad Silorio. It was witnessed by the Army and the PNP representatives, the Local Chief Executives, representatives of national government agencies, and the Risk Reduction Management Council Chairpersons of different towns and cities of Western Samar.

The MOA is aimed to divide the stakeholders’ tasks during disasters and to institutionalize the disaster preparedness of the Local Government Units (LGUs) of Western Samar Province by standardizing the methodology in training the Municipal and Barangay officials through a participatory framework.

It is also aimed to adopt a disaster risk reduction and management approach with holistic, comprehensive, integrated and proactive approach in lessening the socio-economic and environment impact of disasters and climate change, and promote the involvement and participation of all sectors and stakeholders concerned, at all levels, especially in the local communities as stipulated in Section 2, Sub Section D of R.A 10121.

While on the part of Plan International, as was stipulated in the MOA, will implement the Scaling Up Resilience in Governance (SURGE) which will advocate successful experiences on Inclusive Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction (ICBDRR) in communities through the peer-to-peer approach that is aimed to increase resilience of disaster high-risk communities. SURGE is funded by European Union.

Another highlight of the summit was 8ID HADR Capability demonstration by the 8ID Emergency Response Company (ERC) simulating a multiple vehicular accidents scenario.

8ID also showcased its Disaster Response Operation (DRO) equipment in conducting rescue operation in the bodies of water through its Water Search and Rescue (WASAR) Team, as well as its equipment in conducting search and rescue operation in collapsed structures.

Hon. Tan was full of optimism after the summit and appreciated 8ID for hosting the Samar Province DRRM Summit and stressed the importance of coming up with a holistic approach in addressing disasters.

Maj. Gen. Velarmino hailed the outcome of the summit and dubbed it as a step towards the right direction in strengthening the DRRM system of Western Samar Province in order to mitigate the impact of disasters.

He also said that the signed MOA will greatly benefit the Province, the LGUs under it, the concerned government agencies, as well as the PNP and AFP units as they will have an anchor to craft supporting policies and laws to prepare in addressing problems during disaster planning phase, and during the actual implementation of disaster plans in areas of coordination, sharing of resources, as well as in technical expertise.