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    Message at the Moving Urban Poor Communities Towards Resilience MOA Signing

    25 August 2016

    Hive Hotel, Quezon City, delivered on 24 August 2016

    Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

    First of all, I would want to ask for your indulgence, I was a bit late this afternoon. I was telling Mayor Lin and Arlynn that I was coming from a meeting with Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte.

    We were talking about our plan to help some of the local governments regarding their problems with jail congestion. I was coming from that meeting.

    I actually have a long speech prepared for this afternoon, but when I arrived, I saw that there are many friends here.

    Sabi ko naman parang alanganin pa atang magbasa ako ng speech, marami naman akong kaibigan dito.

    Mayor Lin, of course, has been a friend from way back. I owe him a lot. He has been a very ardent supporter when I finally resigned.

    The ironic thing about it is that it was one of my last programs with SALIGAN, where I was connected. And the plane crash also happened in Masbate.

    So when I saw old friends here, sabi ko most of you are family.

    I was asking Arlynn if she still remembers where we first met. I was telling her it was at a hotel by the sea.

    Naalala ninyo roon? Di niyo na rin naalala? Mas maganda iyong memory ko sa inyo.

    We had a training in Masbate. I forgot the name of the hotel but it was by the sea, that was where I first met Arlene. But she doesn’t remember anymore. Do you still remember Arlynn?

    Of course, I was with her also last week. We invited him over regarding a program we are planning for one of our core advocacies which is hunger and food security.

    But anyway, I won’t be reading my speech anymore. Don’t worry, this isn’t quite long.

    This MOA signing today is really very timely, in the sense that this is one of the things I had to contend with when I was shown the housing portfolio.

    I was telling Mayor Lin that the problems with housing seemed insurmountable, in the sense that I came in and there is no comprehensive roadmap for housing. It would seem that for a very long time, HUDCC, which I head right now, is just a coordinating council, not actually a department. The authority is really very limited.

    But given the limited authority, I don’t think we have maximized whatever limited authority has been given to us, in the sense that over the past several years it has only been concerned with providing housing, forgetting that HUDCC is also for urban development.

    And I think urban development is really crucial when you talk about housing, especially in Metro Manila where housing cannot be considered, isolated from urban development.

    When I was representative of the third district of Camarines Sur, my district is one, just like Malabon, we are actually sort of a basin. Basin for all the floodwaters that come along the way in Camarines Sur. We were heavily damaged by Typhoon Glenda in 2014.

    And because of that I was asking for the Local Disaster Risk and Management plans, which is required by law of all local government units. And while all local government units have DRR plans of their own, pag tiningnan ninyo, parang cut and paste na template.

    Meaning to say, most of them complied with having disaster risk & management programs of their own, without having to understand the vulnerabilities of their particular jurisdictions. What I mean is that there seems to be no real effort to really prepare for disasters.

    The mindset of most local government units, at least in my district, was disaster preparedness is all about being ready with relief goods once disaster strikes. And we all know that disaster preparedness is not that at all.

    Disaster preparedness is really measured on how well you have incorporated disaster related plans in your local development plans. Parang if you look at all the DRRM plans of most of the local government units, most of the budget goes to relief operations. And we are more interested in the prevention aspect than in the reactive aspect of disaster preparedness.

    So, I think this particular project really comes in handy, in the sense that we are dealing with key local government units who are really grown to being victims of not just disaster but even the slightest of rains.

    And incorporating or institutionalizing this particular mindset is timely not only for the three local government units but more so for them to be able to influence other local government units to look at resiliency in another lens.

    Most of the time, I think many of you will agree with me, ‘pag pinag-uusapan ang disasters tinitingnan lang saan ba i-eevacuate. Mayroon bang pagkain sa mga evacuation centers?

    Kaya I think we do have to thank the many organizations, who are involved in this project. Of course ECHO, Action Against Hunger, Plan International, CARE Philippines for having the willingness to sponsor this particular project, if only to emphasize or to overemphasize how much we need our local government units to be resilient.

    To be resilient in a way that we really have to prepare for, ang sinasabi nga this should have been done yesterday. But because many of our local government units have not really been very forward looking, we would want to thank Mayor Lin, the Quezon City government, the Valenzuela city government for also being willing to pilot, pilot of this particular program.

    But ang pakiusap lang namin Mayor Lin, Arlene, was telling us earlier that this program will run for 18 months. Ang pakiusap lang namin after the 18-month period if you could also inspire other local government units to follow suit.

    I think this is really urgent as far as urban development and resiliency of everyone is concerned. Iyong pinakaproblema po natin sa housing ngayon, hindi lang kulang sa pera, pero kulang talaga sa appreciation ng pagkakaroon ng evidence-based planning. Kulang talaga sa appreciation ng paghahanda sa susunod.

    I have been telling my staff, I was actually looking at the accomplishments of the agencies under HUDCC. There are 6 key shelter agencies under us. When I was looking at the accomplishment reports, parang ang lahat yata ng accomplishment reports puro about the number of houses built pero para sa akin hindi yata iyon accomplishment. Para sa akin ano lang ‘yon, it’s a program. But the accomplishment really is how many lives were changed?

    We really should look at it in a more integrated and comprehensive approach. And that is towards urban development. I think this project on resiliency is a key element to urban development.

    So, again, we would want to thank all the stakeholders. We want to thank all stakeholders who agreed to come together to really take everything seriously. And we really are excited after the end of the 18-month period to look into the final output, how we can use the final output to replicate the program with the other cities, kahit Metro Manila lang muna. This will be a very big help in the targets also of HUDCC.

    Naaalala ko po when my husband was still the Mayor of Naga, this was also one of the things that he had to contend with. Our area was really in the path of all of typhoons coming into the country.

    So napilitan na mag-adjust. Pero right now, even if wala sa path of the typhoon, because also of climate change, everyone is a victim already.

    So, maraming salamat. Maraming salamat sa lahat ng nandito.

    Thank you again.

    Thank you to Plan International, CARE Philippines, ECHO and Action Against Hunger for coming together.

    Maraming salamat po, magandang hapon pong muli.

    Posted in Speeches on Aug 25, 2016