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124The Union of Local Authorities Inc. (ULAP), as the umbrella organization of all the leagues of Local Government Units (LGUs) and locally elected officials, in partnership with The Asia Foundation (TAF) and Center for Disaster Preparedness Foundation, Inc. (CDPFI) conducted the “LGUs and Disasters: Funding the Frontliners”, a Round Table Discussion (RTD) on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) last March 11, 2016 at the Microtel Hotel, Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City.
Among the participants who attended were representatives from 15 different LGUs from around the country and representatives from the League of Provinces and Municipalities of the Philippines secretariat. Atty. Pauline Agatha Capellan-Arce and Julius Hontiveros of the Office of Civil Defense – Project Management Office, Maria Teresa Briones of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Tiffany Uriarte of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, and Silvestre Barrameda of the Local Government Academy-Department of Interior and Local Government (LGA-DILG) were present during the event. Pamela D. Manalo of the Policy and Budget Research Committee, Ena Fernandez of the Legislative Committee, and Aleli Gumpal of the Committee on Climate Change from the House of Representatives participated as well. Louise Alcalde of the Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, Santina Joy B. Lora and Ven Paolo Mendoza of the Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP), Marcelo Fernandez and Kriszia Enriquez of TAF represented Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working on Disaster Risk and Reduction Management (DRRM). Deanna Villacin of the World Bank was also present to give valuable insights during the event.
Governor Alfonso Umali, Jr. delivered an opening message in behalf of ULAP and its member leagues, highlighting the importance of consensus-building and agenda-setting in the push for reforms for more efficient and effective access to DRRM funds to build disaster-ready and resilient communities at the local level. Thereafter, ULAP Executive Director Czarina Medina-Guce presented an overview of the RTD. The presentation discussed in detail the overall objective for the project and desired accomplishments for the discussions. It also highlighted perceived challenges and funding opportunities for LGUs for their DRRM projects and also set the tone of the discussions throughout the event. She also facilitated the discussions throughout the event.
The main objective of the event was to gather stakeholders - LGUs, CSOs, and concerned National Government Agencies (NGAs), in developing a proactive and responsive set of guidelines that shall make LGU access to DRRM funds more efficient and effective in line with the LGU agenda of building disaster-ready and resilient communities. This gathering of stakeholders is a consensus-building initiative that will attempt to map out issues and corresponding suggestions of LGUs, CSOs, and NGAs with regard to the nature are process of the DRRM Fund, thus laying out an agenda for reform in DRRM funding for local actors.
To accomplish the main objective of this event, ULAP conducted various activities throughout the duration of the project to arrive with the desired outcomes, namely: exploring options for a faster and more responsive release of funds to the LGUs for the immediate implementation of programs and projects, exploring the expansion of the menu of the menu of projects that can be financed through the National Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Fund (NDRRMF) and other funding facilities, and identifying concrete directions for policy reform in DRRM financing that will inform the advocacy and lobbying efforts of the ULAP and its partners.
In addition to the discussion on opportunities for LGUs to fund their DRRM projects, an open forum was conducted to provide an avenue for all attendees to provide recommendations and solutions to the issues and concerns of the LGUs with regard to the DRRM Financing. All participants, including NGAs, CSOs, representatives from other local leagues and HOR Committees were given time to share their insights and suggestions.
Mr. Ven Paolo Valenzuela of CDP also presented key findings and suggestion on the allocation and utilization of the NDRRMF. He also introduced the proposed draft of the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) that aims to address current issues on the implementation of DRRM. After the presentation, a workshop was conducted where participants were asked to review the draft JMC and provide comments/suggestions.
At the end of the workshop, suggestions were then categorized based on issues they want to address and whether or not salient features to address these concerns were already included in the draft JMC. The participants, through a commitment tarp signing, indicated that they are fully committed “to achieve the local government agenda of creating disaster resilient and responsive communities through policy reforms and institutionalization of programs and projects on disaster risk reduction and management”.
Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Financing at the local level has just been put into meaningful discourse through the ULAP’s facilitation of the round table discussion through the partnership with AusAID (DFAT)- TAF, and its #ParaSaBayan advocacy. Given the recommendations and possible solutions from the LGUs with regard to DRRM Financing, ULAP, as the forefront and representative of the LGUs, is looking at the opportunity to progress the discussion with the national government, specifically with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) through the Office of Civil Defense (OCD). Moreover, ULAP will also continue to gather further information from the LGUs to support this advocacy that will help the national and local government in the effective implementation of RA 10121, which shall eventually help LGUs in building a disaster ready and resilient community.