The Philippines, through the Office of Civil Defense hosted several meetings with ASEAN officials via video conference on August 11 to 12, 2020 to discuss the advancement of the region's policies and strategies on disaster management.

The regional meetings include the 36th ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) meeting, the 13th Joint Task Force (JTF) meeting on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), as well as the 12th meeting of the Governing Board of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre).

Heads and focal points of the ASEAN member states' respective government organizations for disaster management have come together for the virtual meetings. People's Republic of China and Japan also joined the ACDM meeting as dialogue partners and assured of their continuous support.

Office of Civil Defense Administrator and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Executive Director Ricardo Jalad led the said meetings, while Defense Secretary and NDRRMC Chairperson Delfin Lorenzana as the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management (AMMDM) chair delivered his opening remarks during the ACDM meeting.

The 36th ACDM meeting tackled the implementation and progress of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) Work Programme 2016-2020, and the development of the AADMER Work Programme for 2021-2025. It also discussed the drafting of the ASEAN Declaration on Strengthening of Adaptation to Drought, information sharing mechanisms, possible partnerships, as well as the preparations for the ACDM and AMMDM Plus Japan and China related activities.

The meeting discussed as well the views on the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration of the Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19 and the Joint Statement for the Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19. It can be recalled that on 14 April 2020, joined by ASEAN member states, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, the Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19 was held via video conference to discuss challenges and cooperation among the states in addressing the health crisis and its impacts.

Meanwhile, the 13th Joint Task Force Meeting on HADR discussed the multi-faceted impact of disasters and the reinforcement of cross-sectoral mechanism to address critical issues on HADR. Synergy among the ASEAN member states in disaster management across the region and other HADR related concerns were taken up in the 13th JTF meeting.

Representatives from the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (ADSOM), ASEAN Senior Official Meeting on Health Development (SOMHD), and ASEAN Social Welfare and Development (SOMSWD) attended the 13th JTF meeting on HADR. Moreover, leaders during 12th meeting of the Governing Board discussed the achievements, developments, and direction of the AHA Centre for the next five years.

AHA Centre Executive Director Adelina Kamal, and Deputy Executive Director Mr. Arnel Capili presented reports of the centre. AHA Centre as the primary operational engine for AADMER received further guidance from the ACDM. Undersecretary Jalad in his closing remarks expressed gratitude to the ASEAN leaders for the continuous effort in strengthening regional cooperation on disaster management. The 37th ACDM meeting will be chaired again by the Philippines and is set to happen in November 2020.