Capitol undergoes risk assessment workshop

Different departments of the Cebu Provincial Government underwent a provincial risk assessment workshop facilitated by the people behind Noah’s Ark Project last May 12 to 13.

The workshop tackled basic concepts on disaster risk reduction and management, hazard and vulnerability assessment and capacity evaluation. It also identified hazards present in the province, assessed capacity and vulnerability of the province, set off a participatory risk assessment and analysis, and developed a risk map.

Dr. Cedric Daep, head of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office, Baltazar Tribunalo Jr. of Task Force Paglig-on and Coordinator of Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, and representatives of the Corporate Network for Disaster Response and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau facilitated the different topics during the workshop.

The topics on the first day included the overview of provincial risk assessment, basic concepts of disaster risk reduction, hydro-meteorological hazards, seismological hazards and hazard assessment, and assessing a coming typhoon, its strength, and wind direction.

The following day, lessons were about vulnerabilities assessment, capacities evaluation per sector (social, physical, institutional, economic and, cultural), and risk assessment and analysis (thematic mapping). Participants also presented their outputs that received feedback for improvement.

The participants included representatives the from Department of Interior and Local Government 7, National Economic Development Authority 7, Philippine National Police, National Food Authority, Provincial Veterinarian’s Office, Provincial Information Office, Provincial Women’s Commission, Provincial Planning and Development Office, Provincial Social Welfare and Development, League of Mayors, and Office of Provincial Board Member Celestino Martinez III.

According to Noah’s Ark Project Head Karen Tria, the project aims to “save lives resulting to zero casualty during disasters.”

As first line of defense during emergencies, provincial council should be strengthened through the support of city and town administrators, she added.

She also pronounced that Cebu is the first province the project has reached.

“This (Cebu) is the pilot area in provincial level,” said Tria.

Daep shared the formula in achieving the zero-casualty goal.

“The formula is having an early warning system, communication protocol and evaluation process,” he said.

He also urged the participants to remove “temporary” from disaster vocabulary to “permanent.”

“We should do permanent solutions to disaster risk reduction and management instead of temporary ones,” he explained. “Life is the first priority during disasters; second are the critical resources. That is the disaster risk reduction principle.”

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III remarked that Noah’s Ark project is very timely.

“We can learn strategies and measures to take in times of disasters,” he said. “We welcome this development. We need to prepare.”

He also announced that before his term ends, he aims to convert Capitol’s BAEX building into a resource command and training center for disaster risk reduction and management.

“Let’s work together for a more resilient Cebu,” urged Davide.

Noah’s Ark is a project aimed at building disaster-resilient communities in partnership with private sectors and local government units. It started in flood-prone areas and has now expanded to other disaster-hit areas. Lianne Llesol and R. Gallardo