June 7, 2023

European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Veron reiterated the importance of being proactive during disasters in his visit on Oct. 22 in Itogon, Benguet, which is one of EU’s beneficiaries.

“It is better to be prepared and be proactive than reactive and reduce exposure of people to disasters and loss of income,” Veron said.

Veron, who visited the Cordillera for the first time, also highlighted the importance of community participation and enhancing their capacity for disaster preparedness and response.

He led the turnover of disaster and climate risk modules and early warning kits to nine barangays of Itogon. The kits include megaphone, rechargeable flood lights, and whistle.

His visit in Itogon was part of the EU’s program called “Empowering municipalities, barangays, civil society organizations and people’s organizations through working together to enhance disaster and climate governance” or Empower, which covers nine barangays in the municipality.  

The project, which also benefits 23 barangays in Pinukpuk, Kalinga, started in January 2020 and will end by 2022. The Adventist and Relief Agency and Humanity and Inclusion is implementing the project.

Veron said the project has tangible outcomes that include the distribution of 26 early warning kits and modules, 26 disaster mitigating projects, 26 barangay disaster reduction and management plans and 3,000 individuals were trained on disaster preparedness and response.

Mayor Victorio Palangdan thanked Veron and the EU for their partnership with the municipality especially after it was hit by Typhoon Ompong in 2018.

“This resiliency and disaster preparedness program is very much needed by our communities, as we continue to recover from the effects of past calamities,” Palangdan said.

Veron also visited other EU’s development projects and engaged with local stakeholders in the region from Oct. 20 to 22.

He earlier paid courtesy visits to Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong and also met with the officials of Saint Louis University and the University of the Cordilleras, who are grantees of the capacity-building EU Erasmus projects. – Ofelia C. Empian