PHL Ambassador welcomes Filipino officials attending Disaster Risk Management Programme in New Zealand
Two Filipino officials, namely, Ms. Riezel Chatto, Chief, Regional Disaster Risk reduction and Management Services Division, Office of Civil Defence and Mr. Marc Victore, Civil Defence Officer/Planning Officer, Office of Civil Defence Region IV-B participated in the Disaster Risk Management Programme conducted in New Zealand on 22 March-4 April 2015. They joined the ASEAN disaster management officials from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam who came from the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre) in Jakarta for the ACE AHA Centre Executive Programme: Preparing the Future Leaders of Disaster Management in ASEAN. Disaster Risk Management is one of the four flagship projects under the New Zealand Aid Programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) aimed at sharing the country’s expertise and experience in planning, coordination and response systems and procedures in disaster risk management to support and contribute to ASEAN’s goal of building a more disaster resilient ASEAN community.
Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez met Ms. Chatto and Mr. Victore at the reception hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and hosted a dinner for them at “Ang Bahay” (Philippine Ambassador’s residence) on 24 March 2015. Col. Connor Anthony Canlas, Assistant Defence Attaché accredited to New Zealand and based at the Philippine Embassy in Canberra was also present during the dinner. Discussions focused on the high importance, usefulness and benefits of the ACE Programme that was made possible by the MFAT Aid Programme, AHA Centre, University of Canterbury and the Centre for Risk, Resilience and Renewal of the University of Canterbury. “The knowledge, skills and experience that our officials from the Office of Civil Defence will gain from the ACE course will undoubtedly go a long way in upgrading the Philippines’ vital human resources in in building greater resilience for our people through strengthened individual and collective preparedness and responses in times of natural disasters and emergencies,” Ambassador Benavidez stated.
She shared with them the article entitled “Philippines Star Pupil in Disaster Lessons” which was published on the Dominion Post on 07 January 2015 and written by former Prime Minister of New Zealand and current Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Helen Clark. It cited the Philippines’ sustained and enhanced efforts and highly important policies, priorities and programs on Disaster Preparedness, Response, Mitigation and Adaptation. In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, emphasis is placed on the Build Back Better, Faster and Safer principle of the Philippine Government, which serves as the guiding framework for the planning and implementation of recovery and reconstruction programs, projects and activities in the affected areas under the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP) program. The Philippine Government continues to closely collaborate with partner countries, international agencies, non-governmental organizations, private sector, civil societies and other stakeholders in rebuilding Central Visayas with the collective efforts greatly contributing to helping the Philippines get back on its feet.