Message from the Australian Government
Delivered by Ambassador Bill Tweddell:
Partnership in Building Resilience
Launching of the Metro Manila Earthquake Contingency Plan and
Handover of Multi-Hazard Maps to Local Government Units in the Greater Metro Manila Area
18 December 2015, 9:00 am
Novotel Manila, Araneta Center, Quezon City
- Senator Heherson Alvarez, Commissioner of the Climate Change Commission
- Director Romeo Fajardo, Deputy Administrator of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD)
- Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista
- Country Director Titon Mitra of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), valued partner and former colleague from his distinguished career in AusAID
- Atty Emerson Carlos, Chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA)
- Undersecretary Corazon Jimenez, General Manager of MMDA
- Dr Renato Solidum, Director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS)
- BGEN Apolinario Alobba, Joint Task Force Commander, National Capital Region, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
- Ms Susan Cruz, Director of OCD-National Capital Region
- Ms Alicia Bonoan, Director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development – National Capital Region
- Mayors and representatives from the 17 Metro Manila Cities
- Governors and representatives from the provinces of Laguna, Rizal, Cavite and Bulacan
- Partners from national government agencies, civil society organisations and the media
- Ladies and Gentlemen
Thank you for inviting me here today. I am glad, along with my colleagues from the Australian Embassy, to take part in this Launch of the Metro Manila Earthquake Contingency Plan or “Oplan Metro Yakal Plus” and hand over the multi-hazard and risk maps to the local government units in Greater Metro Manila Area.
The Australian Government takes great pleasure in its continued partnership with the Philippine Government on disaster preparedness and risk management.
Firstly, congratulations to our partners, who all made this day possible:
- The Collective Strengthening of Community Awareness on Natural Disasters or CSCAND agencies, composed of
- the Office of Civil Defense;
- the Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB);
- the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA);
- the Philippine Atmospheric and Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA); and
- the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS)
- The Climate Change Commission
- The Metro Manila Development Authority
- The Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, and
- Most especially to all Metro Manila Cities and the Local Governments of Laguna, Rizal, Cavite and Bulacan.
We are proud to be part of the 4-year journey of the Greater Metro Manila Area Ready Project or “GMMA READY” in building the resilience of communities against disasters and climate risks. We are glad to have contributed to strengthening the capacities of local governments to prepare for and respond to disasters and emergencies through the generation of science-based and updated disaster information, and development of land use and contingency plans to guide decisions, investments, and local actions.
Today is testament to the relentless work of the Philippine Government technical agencies and GMMA local governments, and the trust and value that you have put in this partnership with the Australian aid program and UNDP.
[Partnership in Building Resilience]
Australia has been a long-standing partner of the Philippines in advancing the shared development agenda of economic development and poverty reduction. Our goal is to ensure that stakeholders are able to take advantage of the benefits arising from a more prosperous, stable and resilient Philippines. Disasters, however, as we have seen, are barriers to development – they erode economic gains and push people back into poverty.
Our aid program in the Philippines has placed a high priority on reducing risks and enhancing resilience to disasters. We are strongly encouraged by the strategic leadership demonstrated by national agencies in this field. The Philippine Government, through the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, and local governments down to barangay level, are investing more to implement disaster and climate resilience policies and programs.
Following Typhoon Haiyan, and as further exemplified during Typhoon Hagupit and Typhoon Koppu, we all witnessed significant improvements in disaster preparedness at all levels of governance in the Philippines. These factors have contributed to the increasing resiliency of the country to disasters and climate risks.
Australia is glad to have supported you again in delivering the collective commitment to provide credible, comprehensive and accurate disaster information, and innovative tools and approaches on risk analysis in Metro Manila. We have previously launched the West Valley Fault System Atlas, which is now informing decisions and actions of public and private sectors in the metropolis. And today, the Metro Manila Earthquake Contingency Plan and the multi-hazard maps we are launching, again set the benchmark for developing disaster information in the country. We hope that the Collective Strengthening of Community Awareness on Natural Disasters (CSCAND) agencies will continue working with other LGUs and stakeholders in generating updated and fit-for-purpose disaster information.
We are also happy to note the planning agencies and governance bodies (notably the Metro Manila Development Authority, the National Economic and Development Authority, the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, and the Climate Change Commission) have been leading the way in incorporating the hazard and risk information into policies and guidelines, particularly local land use and contingency plans. We hope that you will continue using the GMMA Ready products within your respective agencies, and you will continue to be reform champions to other stakeholders.
Beyond the data and information generated by the project, we in the Australian Embassy also encourage everyone to make this information widely available and accessible not only to local governments and communities, but also to the private sector, non-government organisations and academe. Sharing the information and knowledge is an important step as the Government works on standardising methodologies and protocols on disaster and climate resilience.
On behalf of the Australian Government, allow me to thank you, our partners, for your collegiality, your support, and your commitment to working together to achieve a safer and more resilient Philippines.
Congratulations to everyone involved.