With an average of 20 typhoons every year and with the country situated within the ring of fire – making the Philippines vulnerable to earthquakes – disaster preparedness and mitigation is critical.
Hence, the passage of Republic Act No. 10121, otherwise known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, was a welcome development as it mandated to strengthen disaster management in the Philippines, a country prone to disasters.
Five years after RA 10121 was signed into law, a coalition of non-government organizations and government agencies has developed the Lahat Handa, a training manual that integrates inclusive approaches to community-based disaster risk reduction and management (CBDRRM) and promotes the rights and capacities of the at-risk including children, youth, older people and persons with disabilities. The manual is an inclusive CBDRRM tool that supports RA 10121.
This morning at the Cocoon Boutique Hotel in Quezon City, the Lahat Handa was unveiled to the public and was turned-over to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council-Office of Civil Defense (NDRRMC-OCD). Marites Galang, training specialist from Education and Training Division of OCD, represented Hon. Alexander P. Pama, defense undersecretary and administrator cum executive director of the NDRRMC-OCD.
Galang underscored the importance of collaborative work between the government and non-government organizations in building DRRM capacities of at-risk groups.
“We look forward to the successful roll-out of Lahat Handa manual as it will not only save lives during disasters but more importantly, it will capacitate at-risk men and women, persons with disabilities, older people, children and youth to be better prepared before, during and after disasters,” Galang said. “We are confident that the manual will complement RA 10121 in making sure that policies and plans are in place to prepare communities when disasters strike.”
The NDRRMC-OCD has likewise endorsed the use of Lahat Handa and has agreed to its roll out in all local government units across the country.
Lahat Handa is the CBDRRM Basic Instructor’s Guide (BIG) from the NDRRMC-OCD with sections on inclusivity added, inserted, and highlighted. It is a manual for trainers developed and field-tested by a technical working group during the past 18 months.
“Inclusive CBDRRM is an effort to minimize the impact of hazards by considering all possible vulnerabilities like age, minorities, gender, and disability and ensuring the participation of all groups in the planning and implementation of measures to prevent, mitigate and prepare for disasters,” Edith van Wijngaarden, program director of Handicap International Federation – Philippines, explained. “Lahat Handa will largely contribute to this objective, if used properly.”
With the availability of the Lahat Handa and NDRRMC-OCD’s endorsement of its use to LGUs, at-risk persons can now heave a sigh of relief because they are assured that they are not left behind in DRRM efforts.
“NDRRMC-OCD’s endorsement of the Lahat Handa manual is very important and greatly appreciated, as this will institutionalize its use in training responders during disasters. With Lahat Handa being widely used as the benchmark in appropriately responding to disaster-affected population, we are assured that no one will be left behind during these critical times,” Rainer Guetler, CBM regional director, said. “We are seeing here a more inclusive way of responding to disaster survivors.
Apart from training responders, Lahat Handa also capacitates at-risk persons in DRRM. Children, youth, older people and persons with disabilities underwent Lahat Handa training sessions that enabled them to come up with their own disaster preparedness plan, up to household level.
The technical working group for Lahat Handa is composed of the National Council for Disability Affairs, National-Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council-Office of the Civil Defense, Alyansa ng May Kapansanang Pinoy, Inc., CBM, Center for Disaster Preparedness, Inc., Coalition of Services for the Elderly, Inc., Handicap International Federation – Philippines, NORFIL Foundation, Inc. and World Vision Development Foundation, Inc. The manual was published through Handicap International’s project titled “Strengthening the Capacity of Local Government Units and Vulnerable Households in Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Project” (IDRR Project) with funding support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg.
For more details, contact the Lahat Handa Technical Working Group: