Some 1.2 million Filipinos were displaced from their communities in the first six months of the year due to internal conflicts and natural calamities, and the numbers will likely continue to increase, as both causes of displacements get worse each year.
According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre’s (IDMC) 2017 Global Report on Internal Displacement, high levels of new displacement by conflict and disaster added to the already-soaring number of internally displaced people (IDPs).
The IDMC report said in the January-to-June period, 740,000 Filipinos were displaced due to disasters and 466,000 due to conflict and violence. It added that disasters continue to bring about the highest numbers of new displacements each year. Conflict-related displacement, on the other hand, has been on an overall upward trend over the last decade.
Issues surrounding internal displacements in the country were the center of discussion when 150 disaster risk-reduction and -management (DRRM) advocates from various agencies, academe, communities and civil-society organizations (CSOs) gathered over the weekend to celebrate the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) and the Asean Day for Disaster Management (ADDM) in Quezon City.
With the theme “Ligtas na Tahanan Tungo sa Matatag na Pamilya at Komunidad”, the celebration became a venue for sharing good practices of families, communities, local government, schools and CSOs on disaster preparedness. It engaged participants in building safer homes and providing a platform for CSOs to raise their calls and influence legislators and decision-makers to respond to these.
The groups highlighted two specific issues that need immediate attention from the government: protection and promotion of the rights of internally displaced persons and reduction of vulnerabilities of communities to disasters by investing in disaster preparedness, prevention and mitigation and sustainable livelihood.
“We have gained significant milestones in terms of DRRM practice in the Philippines, but there is a lot of work to be done. One area where we need to put extra attention is with the disaster preparedness and disaster prevention and mitigation at the level of family, schools and communities,” said Adelina Sevilla-Alvarez of the Center for Community Journalism and Development (CCJD).
Undersecretary Ricardo B. Jalad, administrator of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said disaster response should focus on prevention and mitigation, with a special attention given to local government units and communities. The Philippines is seen as a key country in disaster-risk reduction due to its exposure to hazards, as well as the learnings it offers for other countries.
Earlier this year, some local governments in Eastern Visayas signed up to the campaign “Making Cities Resilient” launched by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).
“Each family is vital in resilience building of a community. UNISDR emphasizes that capacitating families and ensuring their safety, especially in the most vulnerable areas in the Philippines, must be our main priorities as duty bearers,” Jalad said.
The IDDR-ADDM Celebration was spearheaded by the OCD and the NDRRMC, in partnership with the Disaster Risk Reduction Network Philippines (DRRNet-Phils) and its members World Vision, Center for Disaster Preparedness, CCJD, Assistance and Cooperation for Resilience and Development, Build Change, Ateneo School of Government and Oxfam.
The event is also the second leg of “Barangay 911: Tugon sa Tawag ng Panahon”, an awareness raising campaign of DRRNet-Phils featuring nine calls to action toward addressing key issues on the DRRM system in the Philippines. It envisions model communities that represent the aspiration and collective action of Filipinos toward building a resilient nation. The launching also commemorates the International Day of Disaster Reduction and Asean Day for Disaster Management.
The DRRNet-Phils is a national tertiary formation of CSOs, people’s organizations, practitioners and advocates adhering to the Hyogo Framework for Action and its successor, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and implementing community-based disaster-risk reduction and management. DRRNet-Phils is one of the four CSO representatives to the NDRRMC.
SOURCE: Business Mirror