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NDRRMC Executive Director and Civil Defense Administrator Usec Alexander P Pama, graced as Guest of Honor in the 2016 Rotary Club District 3860 Conference at Almont Inland Resort, Butuan City on 5 March 2016.

Usec Pama delivered a message focusing on the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) in the country. He said that the challenges faced by the Philippines in previous years especially during the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda have taught Filipinos various lessons to improve works on DRRM.

In his message, Usec Pama expressed appreciation and commendation to the invaluable contribution of the Rotary Club in ensuring the survival of Filipinos against the threat of hazards and disasters. “Many of the disaster operations we have conducted were successful due to the involvement of private sectors and they have made a difference”, Usec Pama stressed.

The provision of humanitarian assistance for disaster victims especially during the aftermath of the Bohol Earthquake and Super Typhoon Yolanda was mentioned. Likewise, Rotary Clubs around the world have helped government workers (police, military) in distributing food and water to typhoon victims and survivors. Indeed, they have worked around the clock to render their services during disasters.

The Rotary Club District 3860 in partnership with the OCD Region XI conducted a workshop entitled “Enhancing Human Resource Capital on DRRM” in September 2015. Usec Pama commended this initiative as it equipped the Rotary Club Members with basic information as well as updates on the national and international DRRM programs, projects, activities, systems and mechanisms. The event also provided an opportunity for every Rotarian Member on how to complement with the government’s efforts on Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Response and Disaster Rehabilitation and Recovery. “Rotarians always find ways on how to prepare themselves and on how to properly respond in times of emergencies and disasters. Rotary is very much a way of life. As the Executive Director of NDRRMC, I am happy that private sectors are conducting activities to advocate the thrusts and programs of OCD and NDRRMC”, the Administrator expressed.

Furthermore, Usec Pama presented some of the significant accomplishments of OCD and NDRRMC. The Pre Disaster Risk Assessment or PDRA significantly reduced the number of casualties and more people are now supporting the call for pre-emptive evacuation. Communities are becoming proactive, dynamic and responsive. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and stakeholders are highly involved in DRRM as they undertake initiatives aligned to the efforts with the NDRRMC.

The mathematical formula to achieving zero casualty was also shared by the NDRRMC Chief. “This mathematical formula is based on the DRRM context. I always believe that one plus one equals zero. The first one is the government’s readiness to address disaster risk reduction and the second one is the people’s awareness, education, acceptance and cooperation as far as DRRM is concerned. Adding them is zero; and that is zero casualty,” Usec Pama explained.

Moreover, he emphasized the need to focus on the aspect of ensuring the livelihood of those who are and will be affected by disasters. Business continuity and risk transfer mechanisms could help Filipino communities to become more disaster resilient.

He ended his message with an evaluation of the Four-Way Test of the Rotary Club in relation to DRRM. The country’s geographical location and worsening effects of climate change are real. To succeed in our efforts and to achieve safer, adaptive and disaster resilient Filipino communities, it is imperative to encourage cooperation of stakeholders. DRRM is a shared responsibility. The involvement of the Rotary Club and other private partners fosters goodwill and if all stakeholders help and seek assistance with one another, it builds better friendship. Apparently, it is beneficial not only to Filipinos but to the entire humanity.

“We may be faced with trials and challenges today and in the future, but with everyone’s support, I believe that we can do our best on DRRM. As a nation, let us join our hands, work together and make our beloved Philippines progressive, climate adaptive and disaster resilient,” Usec Pama said.