ITOGON, Benguet – European Union (EU) Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Veron led the distribution of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) equipment in Itogon, Benguet in a simple ceremony held at the municipal gymnasium beside the town hall on Friday.
In his message, Veron said, "communities should be proactive than just being prepared to be able to reduce exposure of people to disasters."
Being proactive, he said, is part of the EU's active stance with partner communities in different nations.
Veron pointed out that part of reducing vulnerability is being resilient.
He also noted that EU nations come in immediately during disasters by giving immediate aid and later on programs that allow people to recover and be resilient.
Itogon was among the areas most affected areas by Typhoon Ompong that hit northern Luzon in September 2018. About a hundred people in the town perished in a massive landslide at the height of the typhoon.
This is the reason why EMPOWER, a PHP22-million project that spans two and a half years, was commenced in 2020.
EMPOWER stands for Empowering Municipalities, Barangays, Civil Society Organizations, and People's Organizations through working together to enhance disaster and climate risk governance that is being implemented by the Adventist and Relief Agency (ADRA) and Humanity and Inclusion in nine barangays in Itogon and 23 barangays in the town of Pinukpuk in Kalinga.
Veron said the output of the project includes 32 inclusive early warning kits that were distributed to the barangays on Friday, initially for Itogon.
Modules were also turned over to those who have been trained as facilitators, who will in turn train about 3,000 people to become prepared and resilient from disasters.
He said the program is also expected to produce 32 disaster mitigating projects and 32 key reduction management plans.
Meanwhile, Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan said they were glad the EU chose Itogon as a beneficiary of the project.
"We have no words how to express our gratitude for your help. We are lucky and we are glad you came as we also move forward to continue to restore the environment of this town," he said.
Tinongdan Barangay Captain Edwin Atumpag said the early warning device that the EU has provided, as well as the training in disaster preparedness, would go a long way in assuring that the residents will not only be prepared during calamities but will be resilient as well. (PNA)