The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) has awarded 16 local government units (LGUs) across the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) for excellence in disaster preparedness.
In a ceremony in Cotabato City on December 2, the National Disaster Reduction and Risk Management (NDRRM) and the OCD-BARMM awarded the 16 LGUs for top-level disaster preparedness, as recognized during the 22nd Gawad KALASAG (Kalamidad at Sakuna Labanan, Sariling Galing ang Kaligtasan) Seals Awards.
Gawad KALASAG Seals Awards honor local DRRM councils and offices, government response teams, civil society organizations (CSOs), volunteer organizations and individuals for exemplary contributions in the field of DRRM and climate change adaptation.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. congratulated the honorees, recognizing them for significant efforts while emphasizing the actions to be taken before, during and after the disaster.
Bangsamoro Civil Defense regional director Hamid Bayao underscored OCD-BARMM’s role and mandates in providing responsive, efficient and effective services related to research, planning, programming, project development and policy formulation of DRRM’s projects and activities.
“We are all Filipinos here, working together not just during the crisis […] hindi tayo magpapahuli [dahil] magaling tayo, importante ay nagtutulungan tayong lahat, galingan natin,” Abalos said.
The highest government award “Beyond Compliant” was given to Upi, Maguindanao del Norte.
Parang (Maguindanao Norte), South Upi, Paglat, Ampatuan, Datu Abdullah Sangki, and Sultan sa Barongis in Maguindanao; Bubong, Piagapo, and Wao in Lanao del Sur; Lamitan City and Tuburan in Basilan; and Talipao in Sulu were awarded for being “Fully Compliant”.
The Jolo Emergency Rescue Network (JERN) Inc. was also awarded as Regional Best Government Emergency Management and Response Teams (GEMs).
Curiously, the BARMM Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incident (READi), a well-equipped local DRRM unit and a platform of best-trained emergency workers, has not been nominated for any category.
Plaques of Appreciation were given to the Bangsamoro DRRM Council member-agencies as well as DRRM Partners from both the Public and the Private Sectors.
“Ang Gawad KALASAG ay ang flagship program ng NDRRMC, sa pangunguna ng OCD-BARMM, na layong palakasin at pagtibayin and bawat pamilya, komunidad, mga institusyon, at establisimyento upang tayo ay maging matatag, resilient sa mga sakuna at bantang panganib,” Bayao said.
Director General Khalif Dumagay, who represented Interior and Local Government Minister Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo, praised the awardees, saying, “you have proven that we, in the BARMM, can cope with the best LGUs in the country by working together despite complex and complicated transitions while we are currently undergoing both natural and man-made calamities.”
“In Moral Governance, we mean, we will try our very best to make sure that our decision making process and the decisions we made are geared towards one and the same goal matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay
of Bangsamoro and the whole Filipino nation,” he added.
The NDRRMC, through the National Gawad Kalasag Committee, said 135 “Beyond Compliant” and 436 “Fully Compliant” LGUs were awarded this year.