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Building Back Better

By Reina Garcia

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a short trip to Cebu to attend the CSO Summit on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) organized by the DRR-CCA Coalition. The coalition is composed of

Aksyon Klima, Ateneo School of Government, Center for Disaster Preparedness, Christian Aid, DRRNetPhils, Oxfam, and World Vision. The summit’s theme was “Local Voices and Participation

as Key to Building Resilience.”

It was inspiring to meet the organizations and the people behind them who have been working on disaster response and rehabilitation and, equally as important, fighting to keep the voices of the those in the communities they are working with to be part of the whole DRR planning and implementation process. CCA and DRR planning should not be new types of plans for the communities and local governments; rather these should be embedded in all aspects of the development plans. The challenge for the CSOs now is how to ensure that all the work being done goes beyond emergency response to actual reduction of vulnerability and rebuilding better.

Our ED Red spoke about the People’s Survival Fund (PSF), and how local governments can utilize this fund to increase their capacities for climate change adaptation, which includes adapting to both extreme weather events (such as Typhoon Yolanda) as well as the slow onset impacts (such as the shift in temperature and precipitation patterns) of climate change.

iCSC_CSO Summit2_RG

The magnitude of the disasters brought about by the typhoons and excessive rainfall in the recent years has brought to the attention of the world the resilience of the Filipinos, with memes such as “The Filipino spirit is waterproof”. Resilience has become the buzzword in these troubled times (and weather patterns), but as pointed out during the summit, is there a Filipino translation to the word “resilient”? We all racked our brains. Words such as lastiko (elastic rubber bands) and makunat (which could mean hardy, flexible, or malleable) were called out by the participants, much to everyone’s amusement. On a more serious note, everyone agreed that resilience is about going beyond getting back on one’s feet, going beyond building back to building back BETTER.

The Filipino resilience shall be tested yet again in the next days, when Tropical Storm Domeng is expected to bring storm surges in, yet again, the islands of the Visayas.#

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