GENERAL SANTOS CITY—The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the United Nations World Food Programme for the construction of the Disaster Response Center for Mindanao at the General Santos International Airport complex.
The agreement was finalized last week during a site visit by Undersecretary Vilma B. Cabrera, OPG-Protective Programs-DSWD; Mads Vejlstrup, Special Operation project manager, UN WFP and CAAP deputy director general for Administration, retired general Artemio Orozco.
CAAP will provide the lot in the General Santos City Airport while the UN WFP will fund the construction and manage the DRC for two years, after which the DRC will be handed over to the Government of the Philippines through the DSWD as vice chairman for the Disaster Response Pillar of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
The response center will include a warehouse in which to store disaster relief goods, offices for the humanitarian clusters, and a training center for disaster operations personnel. The facility is a Philippine government-UN initiative to improve disaster response mechanisms, and to provide more efficient and timely response to future disaster-affected area.
The World Food Programme is the food assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security.
DSWD is also in close coordination with the other lead agencies in the Response Cluster such as the Department of National Defense for telecommunications and logistics, Department of Health for medical and health emergency services, Department of Education on safety plans and alternative learning spaces for students during disasters, and Armed Forces of the Philippines for search, rescue, and retrieval operations.
General Santos Airport manager Allan Punay said that airport is the biggest of the 81 airports being managed by CAAP with an area of over 600 hectares and a single 3,200-meter runway capable of accommodating for landing the biggest commercial aircraft in the world, the double-deck, wide-body, four-engine jet airliner Airbus A380.