9 Itogon barangays undergo DRRM plan enhancement

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ITOGON, Benguet – The European Union-supported EMPOWER Project kicks off the DRR Plan enhancement of Itogon’s nine barangays.

The enhancement of the DRR Plan is to commence today in Barangay Ucab, where members of Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and leaders of different CSOs associations in Ucab will sit down to review and enhance their plans. It will be recalled that Brgy. Ucab is where the massive landslide happened at the height of Typhoon Ompong in 2018, where 97 miners and their families were buried in a mudslide at Sitio First Gate Ucab Itogon, Benguet.

Noel Boligon of Sitio First Gate recalled the horror on the morning of September 15, 2018 “ I heard a loud crash, I rushed outside of my house, my neighbor told me the crash came from the bunkhouse level 070. I was shocked my wife, and my eldest son was there; they sold food in the bunkhouse where several miners lived.  It took days before the authorities pulled the bodies of my wife and son from the mud and rubble along with other corpses. It was painful; our children are so young to be left behind by a mother.

Our youngest is only two years old; a tearful Noel narrated, looking back if we didn’t disregard the warning from the local authorities just days before the landslide happened, my wife and son are still alive today”.

The nine barangays of Itogon will enhance their Barangay Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Plans from the second week of November to the 2nd week of December 2021. The objective of the BDRRM Plans enhancement is to make them inclusive of the needs of vulnerable groups.

In achieving this objective, the first step is to involve the organizations of farmers, persons with disabilities, women, older persons, and children and youth in enhancing the DRR Plan so that their needs and advocacies are integrated inside the plan.

Municipal DRRM Officer and EMPOWER champion Eng. Cyril Batcangan said, “ To make the DRRM Plan inclusive, the important parts of the plan should have inputs from the CSOs, such as the community vision, mission, and goals, the roles, and responsibilities of CSOs in prevention & mitigation, preparedness, response and rehabilitation, and recovery are clearly articulated.

The membership of CSOs in the DRRMC structures is reflected in the sections of the plan that show the organizational chart and list of DRRMC members and committees. And   there should be indicators to measure inclusiveness of the plans and lastly the disaggregated data on gender, age and disability should be used to adapt activities to be more responsive of the data.”

For the past 22 months, the EMPOWER Project, through the collaboration of Local Government Units and Civil Society organizations, strived to make Itogon Municipality resilient and better prepared for natural and man-made hazards. The partnership of local government units and CSOs will help them be better equipped to handle future disasters.

EMPOWER project is a joint initiative of Adventist Development and Relief Agency and Humanity & Inclusion through the funding support of the European Union worth € 375 000 P21,728,548.29.

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