By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
A 2017 Harvard study named Western Visayas as the most disaster resilient region in the country
The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) measured the disaster resilience through preparedness, adaptability, coping, and recovery which according to them, “measure the population’s ability to adapt to changes in the environment and to the types of risks they face.”
Jose Roberto Nuñez, regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Western Visayas, believes that the distinction was a result of the joint efforts of various agencies from the provincial, municipal, and barangay levels.
“Resulta yan ng effort ng ating mga Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices (PDRRMOs), Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices (MDRRMOs), City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices (CDRRMOs) down to the barangay level,” Nuñez said in a phone interview on Friday.
Nuñez also attributed the distinction to the series of training done across the region as well as the regular advisories that are being sent most especially to far flung areas by their department and their partner institutions like the media.
Through the years, Nuñez said that the communities and the residents in the region have developed the culture of preparedness mainly because they have learned from the previous disasters that hit the region.
“Aware na yung mga tao because sa mga nangyayari like flood, landslide, and earthquake kaya meron tayong ginagawa like for earthquakes we conduct simultaneous earthquake drills kaya yung culture na nagtatanong sila kung ano yung dapat gawin pala pag ganito nadi-develop na rin,” he told Daily Guardian.
Despite this, Nuñez underscored the need of the region to improve especially in the areas of capability building and disaster equipment.
“We really have to improve our capacity building and ang ating equipment. That is why LGUs should invest more in disaster equipment,” he stressed.
To maintain the status, Nuñez encouraged the communities to practice the culture of preparedness.
“We have to encourage the community, i-practice natin and i-adapt natin ang culture of preparedness amid the prevalence of social media,” he said.