Dingdong Dantes, NYC seek youth rep in disaster council

Voltaire Tupaz
'We can no longer ignore the importance of disaster preparedness and we do not want to risk more lives, that is why we are making this urgent call to provide for youth representation in disaster risk reduction and management councils'

YOUTH IN DRR. Commissioner Dingdong Dantes, National Youth Commission (NYC)   environment committee head, lobbies Senate on May 12, to involve youth in disaster risk reduction and mitigation policy-making. Photo by NYC

MANILA, Philippines – Commissioner Dingdong Dantes of the National Youth Commission (NYC) and other youth leaders will troop to the House of Representatives on Monday, May 18, to lobby for youth representation in disaster management bodies.

“We can no longer ignore the importance of disaster preparedness and we do not want to risk more lives, that is why we are making this urgent call to provide for youth representation in DRRMCs (disaster risk reduction and management councils),” Dantes said. 

NYC is proposing amendments to Republic Act 10121, the law that created the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). NYC, a policy coordinating body on youth development, wants to be represented in the NDRRMC and in local disaster management units. 

As a policy-making body, the NDRRMC is assigned to formulate a national disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) framework that provides for a “comprehensive, all hazards, multi-sectoral, inter-agency and community-based approach to disaster risk reduction and management.”

On Monday, Dantes and fellow commissioner Kit Cruz will lead a youth delegation that will meet Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr and other lawmakers to seek their support for the youth sector’s proposed changes to the DRR law.

A Senate version of the NDRRMC bill was earlier filed by Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino. The bill stressed the role of the youth in disaster preparedness and mitigation in policy making. 

COLLABORATION. Tanay Mountaineer (TM) members train army personnel on rope rescue courses. Photo by TM

Youth as DRR partner

Dantes explained how young people help in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery efforts of the government and the private sector:

  • Use social media and technology to monitor critical information during disasters
  • Spread information useful to affected communities and rescue groups
  • Mobilize volunteers, collect donations, and organize relief operations
  • Participate in efforts to protect the environment 

At a Senate hearing on May 12, Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) awardee Tanay Mountaineers (TM) shared how the youth can be a reliable partner in DRR efforts. From a youth volunteer and mountaineering organization, TM has evolved into the official disaster response team of Tanay town in Rizal province.

Citing a study conducted by the NYC, Dantes said at least 35% of the youth population is willing to participate in volunteer community service activities and environmental protection advocacies.

Globally, for every 10 disaster victims, 4 to 5 are young people, making the sector one of the most vulnerable. – Rappler.com 

The National Youth Commission (NYC) is a partner of Project Agos, which is operated by Rappler’s civic engagement arm MovePH. Project Agos is an online collaborative platform that combines technology, journalism, social media, and crowdsourcing in helping build communities that are resilient to disasters and the impact of climate change.