March 4, 2024

■  Jane B. Cadalig 

The city government will focus on making Baguio a resilient city in the next three years, pursuant to its commitment to the United Nations’ Making Resilient Cities (MCR) 2030 campaign.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said after he attended the U.N.-sponsored Disaster Risk Reduction and Resiliency Convention in South Korea, he realized Baguio has a lot of catching up to do in terms of addressing climate and disaster risks.

“All the while I thought Baguio City is a resilient city considering the fact that in the country, we were the first to open our economy at the tail end of the Covid-19. We were also able to immediately recover from the fire that hit the public market, and during Typhoon Egay we were able to recover fast with stakeholders helping us recover,” Magalong said during the flag-raising rites at City Hall.

“When I attended the convention in Incheon, South Korea, and looking at the latest parameters on resiliency, especially with regard to our commitment on MCR 2030, lumalabas na marami pa pala tayong kakulangan. Marami pa pala ta-yong dapat gawin.

The mayor said the city committed to be an MCR-compliant city by 2026 through its application to the campaign as early as 2021.

“This will be our direction now. We have concentrated and focused so much on sustainability, on innovation, only to find out that we are wanting in resiliency,” he said.

He added the city government received a grant from Arise, a network of private sector entities committed to helping to implement the Sendai Framework, one of the major agreements of U.N. member-states that focuses on the adoption of measures that address disaster risks such as exposure to hazards, vulnerability and capacity, and hazard’s characteristics so that new risks will be avoided, existing risks will be reduced, and resilience will be enhanced.

Magalong said the multi-million peso grant from Arise will be used for capacity and capability building to help the city government establish Baguio’s status as a resilient city.

In the Philippines, only Makati City was granted a status of a resilient hub.

“Hopefully we will be the next city that will be considered an-MCR 2030 compliant and a resilient hub,” he said.

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction defines resilient hubs as local governments or authorities which have political and technical commitment to address climate and disaster risks. The UNDRR said cities aiming to be a resilience hub must have reached a high level of resilience-building commitments, showed sustained mechanisms for resilience investments, and have an expertise and interest in sharing their best practices to other cities in the MCR2030 network. – Jane B. Cadalig