October 12, 2018
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Nagoya Institute of Technology (NITech), and Nagoya City Office, together with the Municipality of Tubigon and Bohol Island State University (BISU) in Bohol Province, have stepped up efforts to boost disaster preparedness at the local level through disaster drills for residents and students in Tubigon, Bohol.
The activity is part of JICA's Technical Cooperation for Grassroots Project "Enhancement of Capacity for Participatory Disaster Management on Prevention, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery in the Municipality of Tubigon, (Bohorizon)", an ongoing project that also came about following the massive Bohol Earthquake in 2013.
"The project helped enhance the capacity and awareness at the local government of Tubigon as well as in our schools and communities. We also shared our experiences with our Japanese counterparts that will prove valuable in establishing the foundation of a strong and reliable disaster risk reduction and management program at the local level," said Noel Mendana, planning and development officer in Tubigon.
The Philippines sits at the Pacific Ring of Fire making it prone to natural disasters. This was proven during the 2013 earthquake in Bohol causing major damage to local communities like Tubigon.
JICA's support is a means to build capacity in disaster risk reduction management (DRRM) at the local level through effective planning and sharing of Japan's expertise on DRRM. Japan's NITech known for its advanced disaster prevention technology is helping implement the project.
"The Bohorizon activities are also helping us learn fundamental aspects in DRRM such as the role of neighborhood and daily communication. This sharing of experience between Japan and the Philippines will help enhance resiliency in both countries," said Bohorizon Project Manager Professor Keisuke Kitagawa.
Since the project started, about 200 students and teachers have participated in community-based emergency drills and Japanese disaster experts have been dispatched to Bohol.
To date, there are about 250 disaster-trained residents in Tubigon resulting from the project.
The project, according to JICA, eventually aims to establish similar participatory DRRM in other areas in the Philippines.
Since the 1960s, JICA has been supporting DRRM in the Philippines through soft interventions such as training of personnel of frontline disaster agencies and policy development, as well as hard infrastructure such as river revetment projects and flood control measures, among others.
Disaster Preparedness Training on Lift and Carry by Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)