No. of :

No. of Shares:

Currently viewed by: Marcus Rosit

Midsayap shares disaster mitigation practices with Bangladesh officials

Midsayap Mayor Rolando Sacdalan and Bangladesh Government delegation lead Secretary for Coordination and Reforms Mahmudul Hossain Khan shared some knowledge and information on disaster response management that could be relevant to both parties. (Photo by Danilo Doguiles/PIA Region 12)

MIDSAYAP, Cotabato (PIA) -- Officials of the local government of Midsayap in Cotabato recently hosted officials of the Bangladeshi government and the World Food Programme (WFP) who came over to learn about how the city integrated adaptive and shock-responsive social protection (ABRSP) programming, including anticipatory action (AA) initiatives, in its disaster risk management.

Midsayap Mayor Rolando Sacdalan said the Bangladesh contingent focused on studying how Midsayap and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) worked together on the field-level implementation of the Building on Social Protection for Anticipatory Action and Response in Emergencies and Disasters (B-SPARED) project, which is supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

"Midsayap takes pride in being one of the pilot sites for the B-SPARED project in the ASEAN region. We are privileged to showcase our endeavors in the field-level implementation of this significant initiative," he said. 

"Our commitment to effective and innovative social protection measures is at the core of our municipal governance, and we are eager to share our insights and our experiences with our friends from Bangladesh," Sacdalan told the Bangladesh and WFP contingents and other guests.

Four of the officials were from the Bangladesh Cabinet Division, led by Secretary for Coordination and Reforms Mahmudul Hossain Khan, who was also the government delegation head during their visit on Feb. 20.

With Khan were Secretary Nazma Mobarek and another official of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, two additional secretaries of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, and an additional secretary of the Ministry of Finance. 

The WFP-Bangladesh delegation, on the other hand, was headed by Deputy Country Director Simone Parchment.

Only two areas in Southeast Asia are currently implementing the B-SPARED project, namely: Bacuag, Surigao del Norte, for typhoon-affected areas, and Midsayap, Cotabato, for areas prone to flooding.

As a social protection and AA initiative, B-SPARED aims to prepare the most vulnerable communities ahead of disasters by implementing anticipatory action measures, including provisions for multipurpose cash and livelihood protection for poor and vulnerable households.

John Karlo Ballentes, municipal social welfare and development officer, discussed how the local government of Midsayap and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, carry out anticipatory action measures in flood-vulnerable communities. (Photo by Danilo Doguiles/PIA Region 12)

John Karlo Ballentes, Midsayap's social welfare and development officer, explained that the AA approach is different from the traditional disaster response.

"The Philippine DRRM Act, or RA 10121, suggests that we give relief right after the disaster strikes. Sa konsepto ng [the concept of] AA, or anticipatory action, ito ay [this is] ex-ante. Ibig sabihin, bago pa mangyari ang [meaning, before the disaster happens], we are given, as the model suggests, a three-day window of opportunity para magbigay ng [to distribute the] financial cash grants sa mga pamilya na potentially maapektuhan ng [to the families that are potentially to be affected by] disaster," Ballentes explained.

"The goal of B-SPARED is to make sure—this is how they stated it—because the number of people affected and the gravity of the effect on human lives are more costly if aid will come given the existing design of the government, which is 72 hours," he further clarified.

"FAO [of the UN] wants us to utilize AA because according to them, we can build a more resilient community if they have the resources to prepare ex-ante, to prepare ahead of disaster. That is why we are given three days as a window of opportunity for them to literally pack up their things, evacuate, harvest their crops—if it is possible—sell their crops to the market, and make sure that their animals and livestock are also prepared," he added.

Midsayap is situated along Liguasan Marsh, one of the biggest wetlands in the country, comprising about 10 percent of the Mindanao River Basin, which is highly susceptible to flooding; thus, its selection as a project pilot site.

Its tributaries include the river systems in the provinces of Bukidnon, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, and South Cotabato.

B-SPARED is implemented in five barangays of Midsayap, namely Lomopog, Macasendeg, Nes, Rangaban, and Polongoguen, which are determined to be the most vulnerable villages to flooding, involving 1,653 households identified based on the DSWD's Listahanan database.

FAO allocated P15 million for the pilot implementation of the project.

Prior to the expected flooding occurrence, beneficiaries are given multipurpose cash assistance amounting to P3,500 through electronic money transfer.

Ballentes also pointed out that the distribution of the cash aid three days prior to the disaster will be based on a weather disturbance report from DOST-PAGASA and a monitored increase in water levels in tributaries from surrounding provinces that is expected to result in flooding at the pilot sites in a three-day period.

As part of its commitment, the DSWD also prepositions in the municipality up to 10,000 family food packs for immediate release to affected residents.

Meanwhile, Khan told the Philippine Information Agency that their learning visit to Midsayap was "fantastic."

He specifically appreciated how the B-SPARED project identified its beneficiaries using the DSWD Listahan database and how the project prepared the community three days before the possibility of flooding incidents.

"This is a very well-established database. This is one thing that we have learned, and we are taking this to Bangladesh. The second thing is the three-day warning they give to the communities before disasters could occur, which helps the community prepare themselves and prevent losses," Khan said, as he conveyed his positive impression on the project. (DED - PIA Region 12)

About the Author

Harlem Jude Ferolino

Job Order

Region 12

Feedback / Comment

Get in touch