The Philippine Urbanization Forum on its 3rd Year
PHILSSA has been organizing the Philippine Urbanization Forum for three consecutive years already. Since its launch in 2011, the event has never failed in convening stakeholders from all sectors for a sharing and learning exchange on pressing urbanization concerns and in promoting emerging partnership models and innovative strategies addressing these concerns.
Held last 3 December 2013 at the Institute of Social Order in Ateneo de Manila University, the 3rd Philippine Urbanization Forum focused on the theme “Urban Disaster Resilience”. PHILSSA Chairperson, Rosemarie Herrera welcomed the participants to the half-day forum and shared about the admirable resiliency of the Filipinos amidst the disasters experienced by the country. She emphasized the importance of disaster preparedness as the country is expected to face stronger disasters in the future. This was followed by a sharing from PHILSSA’s National Coordinator, Benedict Balderrama on how the Philippine Urbanization Forum started and how it evolved through the years.
The first session of the forum was about the Earthquake Hazards in the Philippines focusing on cities and urban communities. Mr. Peter Ferrer, a licensed geologist and a research associate of Project Noah presented basic earthquake related concepts and its destructive effects, seismology and earthquake monitoring.
The second session focused on the different measures and technologies for climate change adaptation and earthquake mitigation. Arch. Geraldine Matabang of TAO-Pilipinas discussed the implications of climate change effects and earthquake hazards on safe settlements planning and design, planning and design considerations and examples of adaptation and mitigation measures.
To end the forum, Dr. Anna Marie Karaos gave a program synthesis highlighting the important points presented by the resource speakers on earthquakes and climate change adaptation and earthquake mitigation. Given all the inputs by the resource speakers and the discussions among the participants, Dr. Karaos shared the following reflections: (1) Basic knowledge in DRRM/CCA is important for everybody to have. Easy access to information of everyone should be facilitated. (2) The quality and capacity of LGUs matter in terms of preparing and responding to disasters. (3)Coordination with LGUs in terms of disaster preparedness and resiliency should continuously be done to make them accountable. (4)Community organizing and networking need to be reviewed.
In the afternoon, a National DRRM Workshop and Agenda Building was also held. This was attended by the members of AKKMA (Aksyon sa Kahandaan sa Kalamidad at Klima), a network of peoples organizations and federations actively involved in the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) advocacies in Greater Manila Region, as well as representatives of city and regional federations from other parts of the country with similar interest in DRRM and CCA. In this workshop, the participants agreed to expand AKKMA as a national network by building regional formations in their areas. They have also identified and shared local issues and concerns from their respective communities which resulted to the formulation of a National DRRM-CCA Agenda as follows:
- Strengthen CSO participation in the DRRM Council and its planning and budgeting processes
- Ensure representation from peoples’ organizations in the DRRM Council in all levels.Make people’s planning a policy and a requirement for ‘safe and secure settlement’ programs and projects
- Establish coordination mechanism among AKKMA, PHILSSA and other partners for humanitarian emergency response
- Strengthen LGU capacity and accountability in doing DRRM and CCA
- Build strong partnership among CSOs, government and other stakeholders in doing DRRM and CCA
- Develop and promote systems for sharing relevant and timely information for awareness-building, planning and advisories
- Participate in government budgeting processes (Local Development and Investment Planning, BUB/GPB, Budget Partnership Agreement with national agencies) to ensure projects proposed by POs and communities are funded and implemented in a transparent and accountable way
- Promote quasi-judicial processes with CSO participation in addressing environmental and climate justice issues and cases
- 9. Advocate for laws, policies and instrumentalities that would contribute to people’s participation, safe and secure settlements, and DRRM-CCA, such as UDHA amendments, LLCA Bill, Magna Carta for the Informal sector, NLUA and FOI
- 10. Integrate DRRM and CCA in the curriculum, modules and materials for formal and informal education in all levels, with strong participation of the youth in the process
AKKMA plans to push this national DRRM-CCA agenda through consolidation of local DRRM-CCA constituencies, local actions in the regions and national lobbying and campaigns, both with the legislative and executive