Bicol LGUs to use social media in disaster response
MANILA, Philippines – Local officials and advocacy groups in the Bicol region are now ready to maximize social media tools in their disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) efforts.
A total of 116 participants – mostly from the provincial and municipal DRRM councils – underwent a workshop under Project Agos of the Move, the citizen engagement arm of Rappler, at the CBD Plaza Hotel in Naga City, Camarines Sur, June 4-5.
During the workshop, Rappler Research & Content Strategy head Gemma Bagayaua-Mendoza and Jed Alegado and Lou Gepuela of Project Agos discussed how social media can be used as a means to improve DRRM activities at the community level.
Participants received training on how to use Facebook and Twitter for information dissemination. They were also taught how to make use of innovative online platforms like the Project Agos Alert Map.
Project Agos also encouraged participants to have a mindset of achieving #ZeroCasualty in times of disaster.
Social media is a vital communication channel, according to engineer Domingo Ramos, a member of the staff for operation of the municipal DRRM office in the 2nd district of Pasacao, Camarines Sur.
"'Yung Facebook, 'yung Twitter, talagang important 'yun sa communication, lalo na kung may mga picture [kang ilalagay] para [mapakita] mo talaga kung ano 'yung nangyari," said Ramos.
(Facebook and Twitter are very important in communication, especially when you include photos in your posts so you can show people what really happened.)
Representatives from other local government units and groups shared the sentiment, and vowed to include the improved utilization of social media channels in their DRRM activities.
Edgar Balidoy from the municipal DRRM office in Sto Domingo said their office already has a Facebook account, which they would update with the latest weather bulletins and DRRM efforts.
However, he said, he will also make a Twitter profile for the office and request for a faster Internet connection, as suggested during the workshop.
“This will surely be an added warning and communication feature in our DRMM operations,” Balidoy said.
He added: "Very important itong mga technology na 'to, especially sa warning, kasi ang aming [purpose ay] zero casualty." (These forms of technology are very important, especially when warning people about incoming disasters, because our purpose is zero casualty.)
The Bicol region is considered as one of the most disaster-prone areas in the country. The region is often visited by typhoons and is home to two active volcanoes: Mount Mayon in Albay and Mount Bulusan in Sorsogon.
Those who attended the workshop were from towns and cities in Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Albay, and Masbate. There were also delegates from the Department of the Interior and Local Government's RAY (Recovery Assistance for Yolanda) project.
Project Agos is set to conduct training sessions in Cagayan de Oro and Davao this year. – Rappler.com
For more information, please send an email to Lou Gepuela at firstname.lastname@example.org.