A team of Japanese experts on disaster risk reduction and management lauded the Makati City government for promoting a culture of readiness and for establishing the country’s first DRRM Academy at the University of Makati.
The academy was envisioned by Mayor Abigail Binay to become a training ground for disaster readiness not only for the Philippines, but for the entire Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Delegates from the Yokohama Fire Bureau, Fire Academy and Crisis Management Office, and from Citynet Yokohama met with Binay last Thursday following the two-day capacity assessment they conducted on selected DRRM facilities of the city as well as the DRRM Academy.
In a letter sent through the delegation, Yokohama City Mayor Fumiko Hayashi assured Binay of his commitment to share his city’s own experience and expertise in running the Yokohama DRR Learning Center to contribute to the development of a curriculum for Makati’s new academy.
“I feel strong respect [for] your leadership for implementing this great project,” Hayashi said.
Hayashi said his city and Makati have worked together as lead city and co-lead city of the Citynet Disaster Cluster since 2013. At the Citynet Colombo Congress held last year, both cities were reelected for the same positions for the next four years.
Binay thanked the international partners for lending their technical expertise and innovative practices in support of Makati’s efforts to promote a culture of readiness among residents and stakeholders.
“Makati gladly welcomes any form of assistance from our valued partners in the international community to raise our DRRM practices and strategies to international standards. We believe our openness to innovations for development will help solidify the foundations of a secure and resilient Makati and empower us to lead other cities and nations towards a sustainable future,” she said.
Binay said she hoped that soon, the DRRM Academy will be able to open its doors to the country’s Asean neighbors.
“The DRRM Academy has so much potential for institutionalizing the exchange of technology and ideas among the members of the Asean community,” she stated.
From March 7 to 8, the Japanese delegates conducted a capacity assessment visit at key DRRM facilities to gauge their level of compliance with international DRRM standards and to identify possible collaborations on future projects.
The delegation includes Program Officer Sayaka Yoda and Project Administration Director Yuko Abe of Citynet Yokohama; Hideya Abe, Manager for Training and Yasunobu Shimizu, Manager for Emergency Life-saving Technician of Yokohama Fire Bureau; and Kimiyoshi Hanazuka, Office Manager of Yokohama Crisis Management Office.
At the meeting, Hanazuka informed Binay that although Japan was already a developed country in terms of disaster risk reduction, he had learned so much during the visit, and was “glad to take home the ideas from Makati to Japan.”
Yokohama Fire Bureau’s Abe also said the team was impressed with the strong relations between the city DRRM Office and its Bureau of Fire Protection, noting how they have been doing a good job.
Areas visited include the Makati DRRM Office Search and Rescue Base, city Central Fire Station, University of Makati, and the Ospital ng Makati Emergency Room.
Last December, Binay, together with Citynet Yokohama Program Director Kendra Hirata and PlusArts Chairman Hirokazu Nagata, inaugurated the Makati DRRM Academy Project Office at UMak and launched its four pilot training programs.
The four pilot programs will be offered this coming June to selected city DRRM personnel. Moreover, UMak will open its Bachelor of Science on Social Work, Major in Disaster Management also in June.
The DRRM Academy’s pilot training programs include DRRM 101 which provides knowledge on the basic concepts and legal foundation of DRRM. It also covers fundamentals of multi-hazard awareness, risk assessment and tools, DRRM frameworks of practice, and resilience assessment.
The Community Development and Management program is designed for advocates who wish to become DRRM leaders. It covers individual and family multi-hazard awareness trainings, community planning, community risk assessment, and DRRM policy development.
There will also be basic incident and emergency management trainings such as basic incident command system, camp management, contingency planning, and evaluation planning.
The First Responder’s Track will provide education and training on immediate medical care, such as basic life support, pre-hospital life support, basic trauma life support, and mental health and psycho-social support.
The Public Health Coordinator’s Track will focus on water and sanitation, nutrition in emergencies, disease outbreak management, and mental health and psycho-social support.
The DRRM Academy Project Office is currently located at the 9th floor of the Health and Physical Science Building of the University of Makati.
Citynet, the regional Network of Local Authorities for the Management of Human Settlements, started with 26 members in 1987 and has committed itself to helping local governments improve the sustainability of human settlements.
To date, it has grown with more than 100 members in over 20 countries, most of which are cities and local governments in the Asia-Pacific region.