Courtesy of Manila Bulletin

CEBU CITY – More than 20 representatives from the private and public sector organizations and foundations, including business, civil society, academe, media and other sectors here signed a memorandum of agreement and terms of reference for a regional collaboration on disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) programs in Central Visayas over the weekend.

The Central Visayas disaster preparedness platform was initiated by The Asia-Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management (A-PAD) Philippines. A-PAD regional platform was first launched in the Bicol region on July 13 this year and now in Cebu.

According to A-PAD Philippines Visayas Regional Coordinator Lora Manigos the launching were made possible by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, through the Asia-Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management Japan.

A-PAD was first formed in Tokyo, Japan in 2011 during the Asia Pacific Relief Summit where leaders of multi-sector actors from different countries agreed to create a framework for action in times of disaster, Manigos told Manila Bulletin.

A-PAD currently has members from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. Manigos said A-PAD Philippines is jointly convened by the Citizen’s Disaster Response Center (CDRC) and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF).

The CDRC is an non-government organization that pioneered and promotes community-based disaster management through its 16 regional centers in the Philippines while the PDRF is the country’s major private sector coordinator for DRR management in the country, Manigos added.

During the recent A-PAD Cebu launching, PDRF president Rene Meily said his foundation is one of the 89 members of this trans-national disaster aid alliance for saving more lives in less time.

Meily stated that the multi-sectoral platform of A-PAD Philippines encouraged strategic coordination and efficient cooperation in the region with the active role of the private sector in leading DRRM programs and activities.

CDRC regional chairperson Minet Guisanda on the other hand said that as co-convener of A-PAD Philippines, the network has shared technologies, resources, knowledge and various capability training/workshops of disaster resiliencies in various communities in the country.

Guisanda said A-PAD’s role in the scheme of things was to formally call each other into a synergy of action for a well-coordinated DRRM from preparedness to search, rescue and retrieval to rehabilitation and other post disaster programs.

The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) served as the lead convenor, in collaboration with existing groups, foundations, institutions and the government sector here to scale up DRRM programs at the local communities.