KALASAG which means KAlamidad at Sakuna Labanan, SAriling Galing ang Kaligtasan, provides the mechanism in obtaining sustained commitment and support from the highest level in government by recognizing the exceptional contributions of various DRRM practitioners in rebuilding the resilience of nations and communities to disasters.
In Sarangani, Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon established the Sulong Kaligtasan program as a community-based resiliency strategy of enhancing the capability of local communities and intensifying awareness in terms of prevention and mitigation, preparedness, emergency response, and rehabilitation and recovery.
Meanwhile, Sarangani Vice Governor Elmer de Peralta cited the government’s responsibility of teaching communities “the fundamentals of life’s preservation by being prepared for any untoward incidents of disasters.” He stressed Sarangani is just fortunate that its DRRMO “seriously performs its role and delivers appropriate actions to Sarangans.”
“It is an irrefutable fact,” De Peralta said, “that even with all our technology and the inventions that make modern life so much easier than it once was,” he lamented “it takes just one big natural disaster to wipe all that away and remind us that, here on earth, we are still at the mercy of nature.”
Believing in the “power of action,” De Peralta then bid for support from all stakeholders to continue to help the government empower communities and make them disaster resilient.
The search for the annual awards this year was anchored on the theme “Katatagan sa kalamidad ay makamtan kapag sapat ang kaalaman sa kahandaan.”
The Sarangani Provincial DRRMO repeated the process of strengthening the organizational structures of the barangays this year despite completing the same intervention in 2015 because of the change of administration of some barangays with the recent elections.
This year, Alegria, Alabel was chosen as the Best Barangay DRRM Committee while Calabanit, Glan ranked second and Lun Padidu, Malapatan placed third.
The PDRRMO reported Sarangani has also finished training community volunteers on basic life support and basic search and rescue as well as equipping families on disaster preparedness, a process that may be repeated as intervention to the barangays.
Sarangani Province has consistently been awarded as the best prepared PDRRMC in Region 12 with its fourth time in 2017 and hoped to keep its record with the upcoming regional awarding on August 7.
Sarangani also ranked first in the country in 2008 but Punzalan admitted lack of resources hindered the PDRRMC to win again.
Comparing Sarangani to other first class provinces in Luzon and Visayas, “we are very far in terms of budget and equipment,” said PDRRM officer Rene Punzalan.
These provinces, according to Punzalan, operate on as much as a hundred million funds compared to around the P5 million that was initially allotted for the operation his office this year. However it would increase to around P20 million in 2019 according to Punzalan.
In 2019, Punzalan said Sarangani will have its own separate office that would be patterned after the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the United States but they would localize it into a Provincial Agency Management Area Coordination Center. (Beverly C. Paoyon/SARANGANI COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE)