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DSWD, FAO, Midsayap LGU team up to strengthen community disaster preparedness

DSWD FAO Midsayap

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the local government of Midsayap, and the provincial government of Cotabato recently launched the Building on Social Protection for Anticipatory Action and Response in Emergencies and Disasters or B-SPARED Project.

The partnership was formalized last August 31 through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by DSWD Field Office-12 Director Loreto Cabaya Jr. and Midsayap Mayor Rolando Sacdalan.

The MOU signing was witnessed by Director Michael Cristopher Mathay of the DSWD-Disaster Response Management Bureau (DRMB); Ms. Ruth Honculada-Georget, Social Policy and Programme Coordinator from FAO; and Ms. Aileen Timson, representing Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza.

The B-SPARED Project is an anticipatory action pilot initiative aimed to prepare communities ahead of a flood through multi-purpose cash and livelihood protection of poor and vulnerable households.

The Municipality of Midsayap was chosen for the project’s pilot implementation due to the LGU’s efforts as a forerunner for innovative disaster management and adaptive shock-responsive social protection strategies.

In his keynote message, Director Mathay of DRMB highlighted the importance of anticipatory action in disaster management and emphasized the commitment of DSWD to ensure its success.

“We acknowledge the significant role of the Department towards the establishment of the Adaptive and Shock-Responsive Social Protection (ASRSP) system in the Philippines. This approach could better improve the interoperability of the existing mechanism towards building our country’s resilience,” Director Mathay said.

The DRMB director emphasized that Anticipatory Action bridges the gap between preparing and responding to disasters and DSWD’s commitment is highly important being the vice chair for disaster response.

Mayor Sacdalan expressed his gratitude for the project and its potential to significantly safeguard lives in poor and vulnerable communities, particularly those most susceptible to the impacts of flood.

“I am grateful and excited that Midsayap has been selected as a pilot project for B-SPARED. I express my commitment to the project, this could change the way we manage disasters, paparating pa lang ay may magagawa na ( we are already prepared even before the disaster strikes),” Mayor Sacdalan said.

During the program, FAO executive Honculada-Georget presented an overview of the B-SPARED Project, elaborating on the importance of ensuring an adaptive and shock-responsive social protection system through Anticipatory Action.

“As a collective, we will need to pursue this together to strengthen predictive analytics on risks and forecasts and provide the appropriate intervention before a crisis escalates into a humanitarian emergency. This is particularly critical in the agriculture sector. For small-scale farmers, heeding early warning signals can make the difference between a shock and a crisis,” the FAO executive said.

For the part of DSWD FO-12, Regional Director Cabaya expressed his unwavering support for the success of the pioneering project which seeks to enhance the social protection systems and disaster management approaches in the region.

“In Field Office 12, we have to ensure that the beneficiary list is credible. In support of the implementation of B-SPARED, we are also looking for areas where we can preposition our food packs,” Director Cabaya said.

“Moreover, it is important that the most vulnerable have an increased awareness of disaster risk reduction, hence, they should be included in DRRM planning processes at the local level,” the FO 12 Director added.

The B-SPARED project was also made possible through the generous support of the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

Key stakeholders were also present to witness the unveiling of the B-SPARED badge, symbolizing the collective commitment to resilience and protection of vulnerable households during disasters.

The DSWD is committed to achieve the project objectives of B-SPARED towards a more disaster resilient country.

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