NDRRMC chief, Dantes partner to tap youth for disaster response

Lou Gepuela
NDRRMC chief, Dantes partner to tap youth for disaster response
The nation's youth are now institutional partners in the promotion of national and local disaster management efforts

MANILA, Philippines – The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the National Youth Commission (NYC) agreed to include youth representatives in disaster planning, assessment, and preparedness efforts, with the signing of a memorandum of agreement on Tuesday, August 18, in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

The partnership was formalized as Republic Act 10121, the country’s disaster management law, undergoes mandatory Congressional review this year. 

“This MOA manifests the two agencies’ serious intent to harness the skills and potentials of young people, before, during, and post calamities beyond volunteering to pack relief goods,” said Assistant Secretary and Youth Commissioner Jose Sixto Dantes III, who has long championed youth participation in disaster management. 

Undersecretary Alexander Pama, Administrator of the Office of Civil Defense and Executive Director of the NDRRMC, also commended the youth, saying, “In all the aspects of DRR (disaster risk reduction), you cannot overemphasize the value-add of the youth. They have the energy and the desire to do these things.”

Harnessing technology, mobilizing the youth 

When asked how the youth could participate in disaster response efforts without being placed directly in harm’s way, Pama and Dantes cited platforms like Project Agos that harness technology and social media to ensure critical information flows to those who need it before, during, and after a disaster. (READ: NDRRMC Chief: ‘Be a digital disaster risk reduction volunteer’).

Project Agos, a Move.PH initiative, is a collaborative platform that combines top-down government action with bottom-up civic engagement to help communities learn about climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. 

“With this MOA, the NYC is mandated to mobilize the youth in various phases to conceptualize, plan, and immerse themselves in preparing for the worst scenario that may occur in case a disaster strikes,” added Assistant Secretary and Commissioner Jose Rafael Cruz, Chair of the youth commission’s Committees on Education and Employment, who was also present.

The NYC and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) also signed a memorandum on July 1, calling upon provincial, city, municipal and barangay officials to include and engage the youth in community disaster management efforts. (READ: The role of LGUs, local councils during disasters)

NYC, the policy coordinating body on youth development, is also pushing for this arrangement to be mandated by legislation. The Senate, on June 8, already approved on final reading the amendments to RA 10121. The measure seeks to include youth representatives in the national and local disaster management councils. A similar measure is awaiting action by the Committee on National Defense and Security of the House of Representatives. – Rappler.com




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