Australia grants P55 million for Philippines resiliency project

July 31, 2023

As published in Philstar Global

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) has received a P55-million grant from the Australian government for the implementation of the Resilient Emergency Communications for Enhanced Disaster Response (REACHED) project – specifically for the climate-vulnerable local government units of Butuan in Agusan del Norte, Virac in Catanduanes and Borongan in Samar.

PDRF also hosted an operational briefing for the private sector on the effects of Typhoon Egay (international name Doksuri) during the project launch on Friday. It reported widespread flooding in Mimaropa, Central Luzon and Ilocos regions as well as landslides in the Cordillera Administrative Region.

To better respond to the situation, PDRF member companies Manila Water and Maynilad are monitoring dams and rivers; McDonald’s Kindness Kitchen and Jollibee Foods Corp. are monitoring stores in affected areas and are on standby to distribute hot meals to evacuation centers, while PLDT and Smart are also sending packs of rice and hygiene kits.

The Alagang Kapatid Foundation also dispatched a team to Northern Luzon to distribute the relief goods given by the Pilipinas Shell Foundation, One Meralco Foundation, Maynilad, Metro Pacific Investments Foundation and Makati Medical Center Foundation. The Lifeline utilities are also mobilizing to restore services in Egay-affected areas in Northern Luzon.

REACHED is a two-year program that aims to provide select LGUs with the necessary equipment and training to ensure access to communications during and after calamities and help coordinate response and recovery operations in affected areas. It was launched at the PDRF Emergency Operations Center in Pampanga.

Its partners include the World Food Program, Globe Telecom, PLDT-Smart, City Government of Butuan, City Government of Borongan, Australian embassy, PDRF, Municipality of Virac, Office of Civil Defense and the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

Thanh Le PSM, counselor for development of the Australian embassy in the Philippines, noted in his remarks that “building long-term disaster and climate resilience has been a key priority for Australia in the Philippines.”

“We recognize that natural disasters and climate change are threat multipliers that disproportionately affect the weakest and most vulnerable sectors of society. By investing in resilient emergency communications, we can save countless lives and prevent vulnerable communities from experiencing even more difficulties and hardships,” Le said.

Rene Meily, PDRF president, said Typhoon Egay’s “destructive swath through the northern Philippines is a reminder of how critical telecommunications are during a crisis. Our thanks to the Australian government for their support. May Project REACHED help make life safer for the people of Butuan, Virac and Borongan – three cities that are frequently hit by storms.”

The PDRF is the country’s major private sector vehicle and coordinator for disaster resilience. As an alliance of businesses dedicated to building the disaster risk management capabilities of the private sector in the country, it aims to contribute to the sustainable development and the general welfare of the Filipino people.

Read the full article over at philstarglobal.com

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