Thursday, June 21, 2007

RDCC readies for disaster consciousness month (Launches “Gawad Kalasag”)

Cebu, Philippines (19 June)—The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) launches “Gawad Kalasag” (Kalamidad at Sakuna Labanan, Sariling Galing ang Kaligtasan) the Search for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance.

In a meeting of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council in Central Visayas (RDCC-7) recently, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Chief Angel Gaviola bared to the members the activities that are lined up for the celebration of the National Disaster Consciousness Week on July 2-8 this year that include the search or “Gawad Kalasag.”

Gaviola said the RDCC will conduct a logo design contest, disaster and emergency management forum, drills, photo exhibits, relief, rehab stakeholders’ assembly and the awarding ceremonies. This year’s theme in the observance of the national Disaster Consciousness month is “Safe Ka Ba?: Programa Laban sa Kalamidad Tungo sa Pag-unlad.”

According to the RDCC officials, local disaster coordinating councils at the provincial, city, municipal and barangay levels have been the front liners in the preparing for, responding to and recovering from any type of disaster and or emergency. The non-government organizations, private/volunteer organizations and government emergency responders on the other hand are the prime contributors and major partners in the implementation of disaster management programs and activities.

Through their help and commitment, “Gawad Kalasag” is the government’s modest response of gratefulness in recognizing outstanding performance of all the partners and stakeholders in disaster management programs. It also aims to recognize extraordinary courage, heroism, self-sacrifice, and bravery against all odds in times of natural and man-made disasters and emergencies.

The search also promotes total disaster risk management and provides incentives and awards to the best performing local disaster coordinating councils, private and government volunteers and other emergency responders. It is expected that through the search volunteerism and auxiliary networks between and among private and public emergency responders are strengthened as well as improved the monitoring system from the national to the local levels.

According to the RDCC, the search covers five categories, namely:

For Local Disaster Coordinating Councils (LDCCs), they shall be assessed annually with the preceding year as reference. All qualified entries or nominees shall submit a letter of endorsement from the RDCC chairman; maximum of a 5-paged summary that highlights the DCC’s significant accomplishments on disaster management for 2006 using 12 point-Arial, single spaced, one-sided long bond paper and photos; disaster management plan for 2007, 2008 & 2009; sample of IEC materials such as video, brochures, flyers and the like and relevant disaster management commendation, awards or certificates and other awards and recognition that are given by recognized organizations and awarding bodies.

For Humanitarian Assistance of Non-government Organizations (local and national); those local and national NGOs that are officially recognized by DSWD and PNRC on humanitarian assistance are eligible for the recognition subject to the criteria set by the selection committee.

Private/Volunteer Organizations and Government Emergency Responders that are not members of the DCCs are also eligible for the search. Government emergency responders that are members of the DCC may be entitled to cash award aside from recognition and or citation award.

For individual/s that exemplifies deed of heroism in saving lives in times of emergencies and calamities are eligible for the Heroic Act/Deed of Individual/s During Emergency Response and Rescue Operations awards. Awardees that died carrying out heroic deeds shall be given a Posthumous Award.

International organizations/institutions and individuals, local and international who have rendered support particularly in relief and rehabilitation can vie for the Special Recognition awards.

Individual/s, GO, NGO, LDCC and all other categories that have garnered “GAWAD KALASAG” for three consecutive years starting from 2001 may qualify for the Hall of Fame Award, provided the potential awardees had obtained a minimum rating of excellent (91-100) from the national Selection Committee. The awarded group or individual can vie for the Hall of Fame Award only once, however, they can continuously join the yearly search.

A selection committee from all levels regional, provincial, city and municipal will screen and endorse all winners to the national selection committee by May 21, 2007 for desk validation and ocular visits of top 3 national nominees for each category and level. Final evaluation of top 3 nominees for each category and level is scheduled in July 2-6, 2007 while the presentation of winners to the NDCC will be on July 9 and the national awarding is set on the 4th week of July 2007.

In similar developments, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared the 3rd week of June 2007 as “Typhoon and Flood Awareness Week” through proclamation 1296 that mandates the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to mitigate or reduce the loss of life and property that resulted from typhoon, flood, drought and other destructive weather phenomena.

The PAGASA, in coordination with the Philippine Journalists Association Inc., government agencies and the private sector will undertake appropriate information, education and communications activities along these topics to ensure that the public may understand and be prepared for its safety and security from such destructive forces of nature. (PIA-Cebu/MBCN)

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