March 1, 2024

ITOGON, Benguet – The nine barangays of this town received inclusive early warning system (EWS) kits under the empowerment program of high risk communities on enhancing disaster and climate risk governance.

The EWS kit contains warning flags, institutional and communication cards, reflectorized vest, bell, multipurpose poncho, whistle, LED flashlight, solar panel hand-held charger, megaphone, flashlight, head lamp, and transistor radio.

This is a component of the Empowering Municipalities, Barangays, Civil Society Organizations and People’s Organizations through Working Together to Enhance Disaster and Climate Risk Governance (Empower) Project, a 30-month project of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and Humanity and Inclusion (HI) and supported by the European Union. The project aims to strengthen the resilience of high-risk communities by reinforcing civil society relevance in disaster and climate risk governance.

Prior to the turnover, HI Disaster Risk Reduction technical adviser Carissa Galla oriented the barangay officials on the use of the kits and on early warning system.

She underscored three important points on early warning system – the type of warning should be communicated early, the information should be correct, and the warning should reach all so that no one will be left behind especially persons with disability.

Empower Project Manager Geraldine Gutierrez said the EWS kits will augment the capacity of the local government.  

“The EWS of every community should be inclusive and accessible. It should reach all citizens including persons with disability. As most of our warning system lack access to appropriate and disability-inclusive disaster risk information as a result of lack of inclusive disaster risk strategies in our risk reduction including early warning systems, persons with disabilities are more likely to succumb in a disaster situation,” Gutierrez said.

Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer Cyril Batcagan said the EWS that were provided have great benefits for the community.

A follow-up activity will be conducted for the setting up of inclusive EWS in the barangays to enhance their capacities in preparing for future disaster and climate risks.

Municipal Administrator Noel Ngolob, in behalf of the local government, thanked the people behind the Empower Project saying that this will go a long way in empowering the barangays including the PWDs to be prepared in case of disaster or calamity. – Susan C. Aro