LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Clad in a dark blue dress, Blanche Gobenciong took the helm of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Bicol as its first female chief.
She is the first woman to head OCD Bicol, which covers the country’s most disaster-prone region.
Gobenciong, who headed OCD Negros Island Region prior to her latest assignment, replaced Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro who served OCD Bicol for 10 years. He was promoted as director of the Planning and Policy Development Division of the OCD-National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
In her acceptance speech during the change of command, Gobenciong talked about the challenges of the work ahead.
“Our country, just like the world, is very different now. We face problems that are made of nature, made by human, and nature’s reaction to man as well as man’s reaction to nature,” she said.
Gobenciong added: “Let every worker in our system and in the government be aware of this new face of the challenge and let everyone be ready to carry the burden, meet any hardship, support all efforts to make the Filipino and its communities resilient and self-reliant.”
In gearing up towards a strengthened leadership for a more effective disaster risk reduction management (DRRM) in Bicol, Gobenciong said that she committed and dedicated her service to the country.
“Never has there been a time in the history of our country that disaster risk reduction and management was made the centerpiece, if not a major focus, of a development effort,” the new director of OCD Bicol said.
“Never has there been a time when we finally came to terms with where we are – a disaster-prone area – and what must we really do to address the root cause of poverty and hopelessness among the majority of our countrymen caused by vulnerability to disasters,” she added.
Gobenciong said that she’s a tough worker, and strict with rules and procedures as part of the mandate.
“To those who would make themselves on the other way, I request for cooperation. Let us explore things that unite instead of belaboring what divides. Let us together conquer what will make us fail in our mission of DRRM. Let us respond with the highest standards of service that we can give and what our people deserve,” she said.
Responding to questions, Gobenciong said that working with men in uniform and disaster responders is not new to her.
“I’m at ease working with them,” Gobenciong said. – Rappler.com
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