December 21, 2017
A Philippine delegation composed of sixteen officials from frontline agencies in disaster management and media shared the country's disaster risk reduction (DRR) experience with some delegates while also exploring lessons from Japan's disaster experience in Tohoku Region at the recent World Bosai Forum - International Disaster and Risk Conference in Sendai, Japan.
Officials from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Administration (PAGASA), Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) met with Japanese experts from disaster-affected areas in Sendai to study their recovery process after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011, as well as experts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to discuss DRR investments.
"We understood the importance of using scientific data in understanding risks and saw the role of investing in critical infrastructure to safeguard people against disasters," said Edwin Salonga, Chief of Disaster Risk Governance Division, Policy Development and Planning Service of the OCD.
The Philippines has already taken strides to enhance the country's disaster resiliency, with some US$23 billion allocated for resiliency building and climate change adaptation under the Philippine Public Investment Program 2017-2022, based on NEDA report.
Examples of infrastructure projects identified under the program include construction, rehabilitation, and retrofitting of evacuation centers, construction of shore protection infrastructure, flood control projects, and retrofitting of bridges.
Likewise, NEDA Undersecretary for Regional Development Dr. Adoracion Navarro noted during the forum presentation that the Philippine has prioritized DRR with the country's DRR budget increasing at an annual average of 34% from 2010 to 2017.
The Philippine delegation also visited the ruins of the Great East Japan Earthquake at Sendai Arahama Elementary School, the Sendai 3/11 Memorial Community Center, Higashi-Matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture, and the Japan Meteorological Agency in Tokyo to name a few.
Meanwhile, Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and PHIVOLCS Director Renato Solidum who was also in the forum noted the importance of resilient transport infrastructure systems in disaster response and recovery and the role of a reporting system among Cabinet members in Japan on DRR.
The World Bosai Forum was organized by Tohoku University, International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDES), City of Sendai, and Global Risk Forum Davos together with Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). Bosai is a Japanese term referring to a holistic approach in DRR to help reduce human and economic losses.
Government agencies such as the Cabinet Office on Disaster Management and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism were also visited to understand Japan's experience and knowledge on DRR, and establish communication links with them. This is part of the project formulation process of Phase II of JICA's DRRM capacity enhancement project in the Philippines.
The Philippine participation was spearheaded by JICA who has been actively supporting DRR (hard and soft infrastructures including capacity building) in the Philippines since the 1960s including the latest Typhoon Yolanda Rehabilitation and Recovery.
Both Japan and the Philippines sit atop the Pacific Ring of Fire making them both vulnerable to disasters. The forum intends to encourage continuing attention to DRR particularly the implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR and share Japan's disaster lessons.
Officials from the OCD, NEDA, PAGASA, PHIVOLCS, DPWH and DSWD shared the country's disaster experience at the World Bosai Forum in Sendai, Japan
NEDA Undersecretary for Regional Development Adoracion Navarro, highlighted in her presentation the importance of investing in DRR for sustainable development
Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation of DOST and PHIVOLCS Director Renato Solidum and other delegates visited an area in Edogawa-Ku, Tokyo which is below sea level