Leyte Inaugurates Newly Established Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office

Leyte Inaugurates Newly Established Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office

For Immediate Release

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Provincial Government of Leyte inaugurated its newly established Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) at the Leyte Academic Center in Palo, Leyte.

Hon. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, Governor of Leyte Province, Hon. Joey Salceda, Governor of Albay Province, and Ms. Gloria D. Steele, Mission Director of the U.S. Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID) led the inauguration and ribbon-cutting of the new office.

The U.S. government is committed to supporting disaster preparedness efforts in Leyte since the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, considered the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in history.

"Our personal stories of suffering after Typhoon Haiyan are heart rending, however, they provided us with inspiration to recover and survive. And to survive the next calamity there is a need to establish a disaster risk reduction management office that would centralize all our efforts towards becoming a more resilient community," Governor Petilla said.

USAID, through its Water Security for Resilient Economic Growth and Stability Project, facilitated a partnership between Leyte and Albay provinces. Under the partnership, the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) worked directly with Leyte Province on strengthening their disaster risk reduction planning, management of disasters, and integration of climate change considerations. The newly established PDRRMO in Leyte is a direct outcome of this twinning partnership. Albay province is one of the most disaster-prepared areas of the Philippines, and has won many awards for its excellent disaster preparedness efforts.

"The U.S. government is committed to helping the Philippines better prepare for natural disasters and become more climate resilient. Climate risks cannot be eliminated, but the negative impacts on people and economies can be reduced or managed by establishing effective governance systems for climate change adaptation," said Director Steele.

Engr. Arvin Monge, the current Officer-In-Charge of the PDRRMO, said "through this partnership initiated by USAID, the PDRRMO practiced early warning and communication similar to what APSEMO is doing in Albay. During Typhoon Ruby [Hagupit], the provincial disaster risk reduction council was convened 4 days ahead of the typhoon and warning advisories were issued well ahead of time. Early evacuations were conducted and Leyte achieved zero casualties. Before the USAID-initiated partnership, we only responded to municipalities in Leyte but during Typhoon Ruby, Leyte Province reached out and assisted as far as Northern Samar.”