January 27, 2020
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) extends its sympathies to the victims of ongoing unrest of the Taal Volcano located south of Metro Manila, while assuring the country of its continued support to capacity building of frontline agencies in disaster management.
JICA said it will continue working with the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and attached agencies of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in improving the planning, implementation, and monitoring system of regional and local disaster risk reduction and management plans. It can be recalled that late last year, JICA and OCD expanded their cooperation to the second phase of their Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Capacity Enhancement Project to help reduce human casualties and economic losses in times of disasters.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that the Philippines' economic losses from natural disasters have reached P133 billion for periods 2006-2015, underscoring impact of disasters to poverty conditions. With the recent Taal Volcano disaster, economic impact of disaster may also be felt as Calabarzon region currently has the highest economic contribution to the country's annual output at 17% in 2018, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) reported.
The project's second phase will be piloted in Region IV-A (Calabarzon) and Region VII (Central Visayas), both devastated with recent disasters namely the eruption of Taal Volcano and Typhoon Ursula, respectively.
"Like Japan, the Philippines is also vulnerable to disasters. This is also why part of our development assistance to the Philippines covers sharing Japan's expertise and experiences in disaster management. We hope that our ongoing cooperation with OCD will further add value to the Philippines' disaster resiliency efforts, especially in planning, implementation, and monitoring. Our experiences teach us that there's still room to improve the DRRM system of our countries," said JICA Philippines Senior Representative Ayumu Ohshima.
Japan has experienced different natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunami, and typhoons historically. Based on accounts, the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami alone had displaced and cost the lives of more than 20,000 people.
Under its project with OCD, JICA and partner government agencies and local government units will 1) develop user friendly guidelines for regional and local hazard risk information; 2) establish guidelines in planning based on disaster risk information to reduce human and economic losses; and 3) improve information management systems; and 4) train disaster management personnel at the regional and LGU levels.
"By investing in disaster management, we will be able to ensure that the vulnerable sector is not left behind," added Ohshima.
Since 1963, JICA has been assisting the Philippines in disaster management beginning with its assistance for the country's first weather surveillance radar and telecommunication facilities and strengthening of flood forecasting and warning system (PAGASA), earthquake, volcano, and tsunami monitoring and warning (PHIVOLCS), extreme weather forecasting, monitoring and satellite utilization (ASTI), flood control and sabo engineering (DPWH), as well as capacity building of personnel in disaster management (OCD).