By BONG D. FABE
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Colonel (retired) Mario Verner Monsanto, chief of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC), has urged citizens to do their part in making the city disaster resilient.
During last Sunday’s (Oct. 13, 2013)commemoration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR), Monsanto said that disaster reduction is not just the responsibility of the CDRRMC but of every citizen of the world.
“One of the objectives why we are celebrating today the International Day for Disaster Reduction is to raise everyone’s awareness on the importance of disaster reduction and of his role in making our communities resilient,” he said.
The IDDR commemoration in the city was jointly organized by the CDRRMC and the Disaster Risk Reduction, Resiliency and Emergency Assistance Mission (DREAM) program of the Balay Mindanaw Group of NGOs (BMG) with financial support by the Johanniter International Assistance and German Cooperation (Deutsche Zusammenarbeit).
It drew together BMG’s five partner barangays and other partner organizations, such as the Habitat for Humanity Philippines, Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, VOICE Network, Group Foundation, Touch Foundation, and Xavier University, in an effort to raise every Kagay-anon’s awareness to always protect Mother Earth.
“It is easy to make our city resilient; it just needs self-discipline starting in our individual home,” stressed Teddy Sabugaa, chief of the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO).
Sabugaa said that lack of discipline in throwing garbage and wastes such as candy wrappers and cellophanes is one of the foremost reasons why the city easily gets flooded because of clogged drainage and canals.
While it is everyone’s duty and responsibility to make his/her community disaster-resilient, Monsanto pointed out it is but the sole duty and responsibility of disaster councils (whether village level, regional or national) to include and consider persons-with-disabilities in their programs and projects.
“There are at least one billion PWDs in the world today, or one-fifth of the global population. And most often, we exclude them in our plans because normally, we think everyone is normal. It is high time that we mainstream them since they are the most disaster-vulnerable sector in society and they are the ones who recover last from disasters,” Monsanto said.
“Let us always take into account that there are people in our community who are living with disability,” he added.
Sunday’s celebration carried the theme “Living with Disability and Disasters.”
The IDDR celebration started in 1985 but it was only on December 22, 1989 that the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN), through Resolution 44/236, designated the second Wednesday of October as IDDR during the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (1990-1999).On December 21, 2009, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 64/200, which designated October 13 of every year thereafter as the IDDR with the objective to raise awareness on how people are taking action to reduce their risk to disasters.
The UN said that it chose to focus this year’s commemoration on PWDs because “persons living with disabilities are among the most excluded in society, and their plight is magnified when a disaster strikes. Not only are they less likely to receive the aid they need during a humanitarian crisis, they are also less likely to recover in the long-term.”(Bong D. Fabe)