Benguet — EU Ambassador Luc Véron underscored the importance of building sustainable and resilient communities so that they are less vulnerable to risks and disasters during his visit to Itogon (Benguet).
“It is better to be prepared and pro-active rather than being reactive”, he said. It is our goal to assist civil society organizations and barangay officials so that they can have a voice in disaster and climate risk governance”, he added.
Ambassador Véron handed over disaster and climate risk modules and early warning kits to Itogon civil society organizations and local government officials. These materials takes account the needs of people with disabilities in the event of disasters.
Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan thanked the European Union for the assistance it rendered to Itogon as it enjoined local communities to help protect Itogon’s environment.
With the EMPOWER project (“Empowering Municipalities, Barangays, Civil Society Organizations and People’s Organizations through Working Together to Enhance Disaster and Climate Risk Governance”), the European Union contributes to strengthening the resilience of high-risk communities and their involvement in disaster risk governance. The project mobilises municipal champions for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, facilitating capacity-building activities where all sectors are able to learn from each other.
The project officially started in January 2020 and is implemented by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, and Humanity and Inclusion. The EU has provided a total of P₱ 22 million grant for this initiative.
It covers 9 barangays in Itogon and 23 barangays in Pinukpuk in Kalinga.
Barangay captain Edwin Atumpay of Tinongdan, Itogon, expressed appreciation for the early warning kits provided to his barangay.
“Our barangay has made use of the mega-phone and other early warning devices initially given to Tinongdan most especially when we were hit by typhoon Maring”, Mr Atumpay added.
Ambassador Véron’s visit to Itogon formed part of his first outreach in the Cordillera Administrative Region, where he also met with Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong, indigenous peoples’ leaders, local artists including Baguio-based national artist Ben Cabrera, and members of the academic community.
(Source: EU Ambassador Office)