Dir. Arnel B. Garcia of DSWD Field Office V cordially welcomed the local officials of Compostela Valley headed by Board Members Moran Takasan and Macario Humol, both from second district, last January 21, 2014 at Hotel St. Ellis. He emphasized that disaster risk reduction is an integral part of poverty alleviation projects.

Legazpi City- local officials of Compostela Valley and Albay joined in the five-day learning exchange on community-driven development (CDD) and disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) in Hotel St. Ellis which started last January 20, 2014.

The learning exchange is a support mechanism for both provinces to share best practices on CDD and DRRM strengthened by DSWD and Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Both Albay and Compostela Valley are pilot areas of DSWD’s engagement of provincial local government units (PLGUs) in enhancing their role in CDD project. To date, development projects in the said provinces will start its implementation early this year with a funding support from DSWD and the counterpart contribution of the PLGUs.

The formal engagement of PLGUs seeks to test ways on how to strategically link CDD implementation to the PLGUs that carry the mandate of integrating municipal level poverty reduction priorities with broad sub-national level development directions. PLGUs can provide the missing vertical link between the barangay, the municipal, and the broader provincial development plan.

On the other hand, the learning exchange included Albay as the model in DRRM wherein it showcased its proven strategies and best practices to achieve its zero casualty goal. The discussions highlighted the smooth implementation of DRRM in the province by establishing a clear delineation of roles and functions within the PLGU and partner agencies.

Compostela Valley was lambasted by Typhoon Pablo in 2012 and with that, its provincial local officials with selected municipal DRRM officers conferred with the disaster management experts of Albay to adopt successful practices and cascade its learning to the grassroots.

Lectures from Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), Office of Civil Defense, Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) were also featured to highlight their main roles in DRRM.

Moreover, Philippine Red Cross and Children International presented the experiences of non-government organization (NGOs) in responding to disasters.

As part of their field visit, the delegates went to the Climate Change Academy (CCA), sanitary landfill and emergency shelters in Legazpi City, Camalig’s evacuation center and relocation site last January 23. They also had a talk with Mayor Alice Morales of Malinao on the integration of DRRM to Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) and their best practices about CDD.