November 30, 2022

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Two municipalities in the Cordillera benchmarked on Bontoc’s best practices on disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) and climate change adaptation from March 31 to April 1.
The participants are department heads and employees, barangay officials, Sangguniang Kabataan officials, representatives of civil society organizations, people’s organizations, and community-based organizations of Pinukpuk, Kalinga and Itogon, Benguet.
The Municipal DRRM Office showed audio-visual presentations of Bontoc’s undertakings focusing on four thematic areas: disaster prevention and mitigation, disaster preparedness, disaster response, and disaster rehabilitation and recovery. The presentation also highlighted og-ogfo or bayanihan in the community.
MDRRMO personnel reported LGU now has eight permanent appointees in the office compared to only one in 2015. The MDRRMO was also provided a wider space and an emergency operations center.
Disaster mitigation initiatives in Bontoc include installation of early warning signs along flood, landslide-prone areas, and sinking areas; installation of convex lens for road safety measures, and installation of fire hydrants in Barangay Bontoc Ili.
Intensified information education and communication campaigns to all sectors especially on the vulnerable sector such as senior citizens, pregnant mothers, and persons with disability were conducted.
The LGU also allots budget for life-skills trainings in pursuit of establishing effective and well-trained personnel and rescue teams. The LGU also regularly upgrades equipment and supplies by making prudent use of the DRRM funds.
To instil disaster preparedness in the community, earthquake, fire, and flood drills and simulation exercises are conducted.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the LGU purchased items and food for the task force, workforce, volunteers, and Covid-19 patients quarantined in temporary treatment and monitoring facilities.
The SK and a local women’s organization also take an active part in DRRM and climate change mitigation.
For instance, the SK of Barangay Samoki has environmental sustainability programs such as tree planting, backyard gardening, clean-up drives, and clean and green campaigns.
The SK also allotted funds for basic life support, first-aid, and mountain search and rescue trainings.
For watershed and agro-forestry conservation, the Kaublan Organization Inc., an organization of women in Samoki, is currently the steward of 19 hectares of forest in the barangay. Three hectares from the total land area is being used for agroforestry and 16 hectares have been reforested.
Kaublan is a holder of a certificate of recognition by the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources for being one of the Best Performing People’s Organizations in the implementation of the Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Project.
The participants lauded the initiatives and undertakings of Bontoc in the implementation and attainment of DRRM and climate change adaptation programs, projects, and activities.
The benchmarking was organized by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency and Humanity and Inclusion.
Bontoc was chosen because of the awards accorded to the municipality. It is a consistent Seal of Good Local Governance awardee from 2017 to 2019, one of the four local government units in the Cordillera, and the only municipality of Mountain Province to have been rated beyond compliant for the exemplary performance of the organization in the advocacy and implementation of a comprehensive DRRM. – Alpine K. Malwagay