Thursday, April 14, 2016

Legazpi to receive 2 Hall of Fame awards from Gawad Kalasag
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, April 13 (PNA) -– This key Bicol city is going to receive this year two Hall of Fame awards in the Kawad Kalasag national search being conducted by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and Office of the Civil Defense (OCD).

The first is for the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) as the city, for the third time topped the 2015 search in the Component City Category and the other is for the Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (BDRRMC) of Barangay Oro Site here which bested other finalists from various regions in the Urban Barangay Category.

The awards that will be conferred by the NDRRMC and OCD on May 2 are for the sweep by the CDRRMC and BDRRMC of the yearly search in three consecutive years starting in 2013.

Gawad Kalasag is a nationwide award being given yearly in recognition of the outstanding performances of local government units (LGUs), including barangays, as well as civil society organizations, private and public service institutions and volunteer groups in disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) and in humanitarian assistance.

Launched in 1998, the awards is among the national government’s mechanism in obtaining sustained commitment and support from DRRM practitioners in strengthening the resilience and adaptive capacities of the country and communities to disaster risks by recognizing their exceptional contributions.

Kalasag stands for Kalamidad at Sakuna, Labanan, Sariling Galing ang Kaligtasan.

City Mayor Noel Rosal on Wednesday told the Philippines News Agency that the upcoming Hall of Famer national award is a prestigious recognition of the city government’s continuing improvements toward perfection of its DRRM efforts.

“While we have already proven the excellence of our DRRM, our sustained obsession is focused on more improvements toward perfection not only to land in the Hall of Fame of Gawad Kalasag but also primarily to sustain our attainment of ‘zero casualty’ and resilience in the face of disasters,” he said.

That awarded excellence does not erase the fact that any calamity remains a threat given the city’s geographical setting that is exposed to typhoons, volcanic eruptions and other forms of natural hazards so, “we work for more”, said Rosal who also heads the CDRRMC as its chairman.

“This upcoming award and those in the past inspire us towards ensuring further that the city is indeed a very livable place not only for Legazpeños but also for the thousands of people coming on a year-round basis to our place as tourists, visitors, students, shoppers, businessmen and delegates of dozens of national and international conventions, seminars, conferences, sports competitions and other grand occasions that choose the city as venue,” he said.

For Oro Site, barangay chairman Joseph Philip Lee said “our victory in the last two years inspired us a lot into strengthening further the barangay DRRM capabilities.”

Lee said he dedicates this Hall of Famer award to all the people of Oro Site who have been very supportive of the BDRRMC in making the barangay calamity-resilient and every household disaster-ready and vigilant all the time.

“We have improved further from what we have achieved in the past. It was done by way of learning more on disaster preparedness, mitigation and resiliency from national agencies promoting the same, among them the NDRRMC and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST),” he said.

Wilfredo “Pecos” Intia, the city administrator and CDRRMC action man, said the city and Barangay Oro Site won the Hall of Famer national awards because both the CDRRMC and BDRRMC achieved the national framework for disaster management required by the NDRRMC – which includes the areas of mitigation, preparedness, response and rescue and rehabilitation and recovery.

“We got our toughness against calamities from the painful lessons we’ve had from various disasters several years back—one of them was the February 1993 Mt. Mayon eruption that killed 75 villagers of the city who were caught by the sudden avalanche of super-hot volcanic materials while farming at the lower slope of the volcano,” Intia said.

After that incident, the city government worked on the permanent relocation to a safer place of all residents in barangays within the danger zone of the volcano, he said.

Another was from the catastrophic impact of two super typhoons — "Milenyo" and "Reming" -- that severely battered the city in late 2006, killing over 1,200 people who were swept by the massive flashflood that hit some of its low-lying barangays.

“Amidst those devastating scenarios, the badly shaken spirit of the city regained its composure promptly and the herculean character its administration has developed for the local government and instilled among the governed swiftly roused back to work towards speedy recovery,” he recalled.

Now, life does not only continue to bloom in this city after those disasters. It has been getting livelier and highly livable as the city administration continues to nourish its booming economy and explore more opportunities to rise high not only in DRRM but also in tourism and private business investments leading towards inclusive growth and development, he added.

Apart from the CDRRMC and Oro Site BDRRMC, another bet from Bicol — the Simon of Cyrene Community Rehabilitation and Development Foundation based in the nearby Daraga town of Albay will also be conferred a Hall of Famer award for its third Gawad Kalasag victory for Best Non-Government Organization nationwide.

Another entry from Bicol -- the D.Q. Liwag National High School in Vinsons, Camarines Norte -- won the national championship in the Rural Public School Category while a special award for individual hearoic act will be given to Chief Insp. Archilles Santiago, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) chief in this city. (PNA) LAP/GS/DOC/CBD