JICA backs enhancement of PH disaster management capacity

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    The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said it will continue to join forces with the Philippine government in strengthening its disaster management capacity, with 9 of its ongoing projects in the Philippines dedicated to structural and non-structural support to vulnerable sector.

    JICA announced this as nations all over the world mark International Disaster Risk Reduction Day this October, stressing that “JICA will continue to share Japanese expertise on disaster preparedness, resilient infrastructure, and other sustainable disaster management measures.”

    JICA’s ongoing projects in the Philippines include the Flood Risk Management Project for Cagayan River, Tagoloan River, and Imus River; Flood Risk Management for Cagayan de Oro River; Cavite Industrial Area Flood Risk Management; Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement; Master Plan and Feasibility Study on Flood Control and Drainage in Davao City; Development of Extreme Weather Monitoring and Information Sharing System in the Philippines; Improvement of Flood Forecasting and Warning System for Cagayan de Oro River Basin; Disaster Risk Reduction Capacity Enhancement Project Phase II; and Capability Enhancement for High Quality Weather Observation, Forecast, Warning and Information in the Philippines.

    “The pandemic showed us how structures and systems can be affected severely. We aim to continue working with the Philippines towards strengthening disaster risk reduction and management. This way, people become better prepared in addressing the gaps and impact of future natural disasters in their lives,” said Ohshima Ayumu, JICA Philippines senior representative.

    Recently, the Japanese bilateral aid agency signed an agreement with the Philippines for the 50 billion yen Post Disaster Stand-by Loan (Phase II) to ensure that contingent funds are available for the Philippines’ response to post-disaster recovery, not just in cases of natural disasters but also in public health emergencies.

    The Philippines and Japan are both geographically prone to natural disasters because of their location on the Pacific Ring of Fire. The World Risk Index of 2019, in fact, put the Philippines as among the top countries vulnerable to disasters.

    “Hazards are part of life, and we aim to continue working with our Philippine counterparts to promote disaster resiliency and safety among Filipinos,” added Ohshima.

    Since 1979, total JICA Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the Philippines’ disaster risk reduction management efforts amounted to more than 345 billion yen. More than 200 Filipino professionals from the government’s frontline agencies on disaster management also attended disaster management trainings in Japan, as of 2018.