The DILG-National Capital Region (DILG-NCR) conducted the Building Steadfast Resilience in Times of Disasters: Rollout Training and Presentation of Disaster Preparedness Manuals for NCR Local Government Units from April 3-5, 2024 at the Microtel at Wyndham by UP Technohub. Joining the said rollout were DILG NCR field focal persons, and the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officers (DRRMO), local functionary representatives, and the PNP and BFP representatives from all 17 local government units.

For the direction setting, DILG-NCR Regional Director Maria Lourdes L. Agustin, CESO III reported that the Philippines has ranked first in the World Risk Index 2023, which measures the risk index of 193 United Nations member states. As the NDRRMC Vice-Chair, this is one of the reasons as to why she champions the importance of collaborations with national government agencies in strengthening disaster preparedness. She further emphasized how the three-day activity aims to enhance adaptive capacities of all 17 local government units, as continuous learning allows everyone to refine and adjust to different situations related to planning and disaster preparedness.

For the activity’s overview, LGCDD Chief Helen A. Verzosa mentioned how the activity will be divided into main sessions of presentations and analysis, workshop activities, and presentation of outputs. She noted that the discussion points in the three days will range from the rationalization of audits related to Disaster Risk Reduction and Management results, to various disaster preparedness initiatives, and the discussion of the Operation LISTO manuals. LGCDD Chief Verzosa also reminded the participants that the inputs in the workshops to be held in the three-day activity will be consolidated to craft strategies for the DILG-NCR initiatives moving forward.

During the first day, LGOO III and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Focal Person Mervin Angelo C. Tumada and Office of Civil Defense Officer III Mr. Marlon Henson B. Obligado discussed strategies in aiding local government units to achieve improved performance in both the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) and Gawad Kalasag (GK) Results 2023. Mr. Obligado then proceeded with the discussion of the comparative assessment of the different regions as well as other notable observations that LGUs can take into account coming into the next assessment period. In the presentation of the DILG-NCR Disaster Risk Reduction Management Road Map; LGOO III Tumada reiterated that having a strengthened partnership and sustained capacities and systems are among those that will drive successful collaboration efforts of NCR LGUs.

DOST-PHIVOLCS Science Research Specialist I Nicole Jean Mercado, DOST-PAGASA Research Assistant I Engr. Bernard Punzalan II, and DENR-MGB Senior Geologist Marie Krystel D. Hugo discussed Meteorological, Hydrometeorological, Geological Hazards, Risks, and Sources, while MMDA Special Operations Officer III Mr. Luther B. Castuera and BFP-NCR Senior Fire Officer I Mr. Adrian F. Podolig stressed concerns on preparedness initiatives and response preparations management. In the presentation on optimizing NCR LGUs for Enhanced Search and Rescue, Emergency Response, Fire Prevention, and Management, Mr. Podolig highlighted key strategies that can aid in resource optimization and effective coordination within local government units.

It was in the second day of the activity that the Operation LISTO Program Disaster Preparedness Manuals were discussed, and DOST-NCR Supervising Science Research Specialist Warren D. Gomez, DOST-NCR Science Research Specialist II Jan Rose C. Bravo, LGOO III Mervin Angelo C. Tumada, DILG-NCR Development Management Officer IV Leonides C. Frago, Jr., and DILG CODIX representative Mr. Herbert R. Zapata highlighted key points on topics such as typhoons, localized weather disturbances, earthquakes, volcanic eruption, tsunamis, and other early preparedness actions on disaster.

DMO Frago, Jr. also presented the Project Governance for Resilient and Adaptive Social Protection, or Project GRASP, a mechanism which ensures institutional strengthening by targeting the planning, process, and local government unit personnel in managing systems and creating regional policy on household-level social targeting. Project GRASP also aims to engage the network of existing stakeholder partners, from the government, CSOs, to international development bodies, and aids in streamlining of fund sources for shared activities, and generates recommendations and inter-agency monitoring.

On the final day of the activity, all 17 local government units presented their successful practices in disaster preparedness, and the finalized outputs of the action plans based on the workshops held during the first two days. DILG-NCR LGCDD Section Chief LGOO VI Maria Jasmin D. Diaz also gave a brief synthesis on what transpired during the workshops and summarized the presentation outputs of the LGUs.

In closing the activity, DILG-NCR Assistant Regional Director Atty. Ana Lyn R. Baltazar-Cortez, CESO IV thanked the participants in attending the three-day activity, as it proved everyone’s eagerness to learn and build strategies in taking on challenges and roles in the local government units. Not only that, she also commended the passionate and resilient local functionaries and DRRMO teams for their continuous dedication to upskill themselves in disaster preparedness.

The Operation LISTO is an advocacy program that informs LGUs on disaster planning actions as well as local protocol and platforms for early preparedness, response, and monitoring duties. The DILG-NCR has continuously championed capacity development interventions and pioneered collaboration within key national government agencies in strengthening disaster preparedness.