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MANILA, Philippines – After receiving public praise for his province’s disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) program, Albay Governor Joey Salceda said it is difficult to source funds for disaster mitigation and climate change adaptation.
“My success results in having a hard time finding funds,” he lamented during the 2nd Disaster Preparedness and Response National Forum organized by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) on Monday, Aug 4 in Manila.
“I cannot rely on humanitarian aid alone because nobody died,” he added referring to the zero-casualty count in Albay after Typhoon Glenda (Rammasun) made landfall there on July 14, 2014.
Despite minimal reported injuries, the typhoon still caused widespread damage to agriculture and infrastructure. Official estimates place total economic damage at P9 billion. But footing this bill is not what worries Salceda. (READ: Hours after #GlendaPH, Albay starts recovery efforts)
The governor, who is co-chair of the UN Green Climate Fund, says the problem he faces now is to find funding for climate change mitigation.
“The (international aid agencies) won’t help you to mitigate. They’ll help you if there are dead on the street,” said Salceda.
The local government of Albay has also been prioritizing its disaster preparation and climate change adaptation in the past years. (READ: Joey Salceda on surviving Haiyan)
“I cannot remove Mayon volcano, I cannot stop typhoons, and people won’t move,” he said. “We have to live and adapt with those factors.”
Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Austere Panadero hailed the success of Albay province in disaster preparedness.
“Bakit kailangan may mamatay?” he asked. “Bakit hindi sila bigyan ng incentive sa pagiging handa?“
(Why do we need to see a number of deaths? Why won’t we give them an incentive for being prepared?)
Zero casualty ‘culture’
The province has been cited as one of the provinces that has the best disaster management plans in the Philippines. (Read: Albay’s SirChief on social media)
The governor claimed that in the past 2 decades, there were only two years that Albay had disaster-related deaths.
According to Salceda, targeting a ‘zero-casualty’ figure is more than just a goal. It is a way of life in Albay.
“Zero casualty is not just a number,” the Governor emphasized. “It is an entire community trying to fight climate change.” – Rappler.com