August 21, 2019
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) recently signed a new project expected to establish guidelines on hazard information use and risk assessment in the country towards disaster resiliency.
"The initiative's goal is to help reduce human casualties and economic losses arising from natural disasters. JICA will share Japan's experience on using disaster risk information as well as in planning, implementing, and monitoring regional and local disaster risk reduction management plans," said Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, Administrator of OCD.
The role of JICA in the project is the dispatch of Japanese experts in the Philippines in fields such as disaster governance, disaster risk assessment and planning, as well as training of counterpart personnel in Japan. JICA and OCD previously worked on a capacity enhancement project from 2012 to 2015 that piloted disaster planning in Alcala Municipality, Ilagan City, and Isabela Province in Cagayan Valley and developed a Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Plan for the region.
"The new project will help sustain the outcomes of the first project of JICA and OCD in strengthening their capacity as an institution in charge of disaster management. What we hope to achieve in this new cooperation is to also see what training and disaster management systems can be implemented in other vulnerable areas and regions in the Philippines," said JICA Chief Representative Yoshio Wada.
Nations all over the world have recognized disaster risk reduction as an important strategy for sustainable development. In fact, 10 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are related to disaster management. In the Philippines, JICA's work on disaster management aligns with the SDGs and the Philippine agenda or the AmBisyon Nation 2040.
The project's activities, which will begin this year and end on 2024, include reviewing the Philippines' existing hazard assessments and information and setting up criteria for the local government units (LGUs) that can benefit from the project.
JICA has been working with the Philippines to help build a "safe and resilient" society anchored on the following agenda: understanding disaster risks through science-based risk assessments, strengthening disaster governance, and investing in disaster preparedness and mitigation.
Since the 1960s, the Japanese bilateral aid agency has extended both hard (infrastructure, dams, river revetment) assistance and soft (capacity building) measures to boost the Philippines' disaster resiliency. More than 20 OCD personnel have trained in Japan from 2013-2019 under JICA Knowledge Co-Creation Programs.
JICA Philippines Chief Representative Yoshio Wada and Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad during the signing ceremony at the Office of Civil Defense