The Regional Development Council (RDC) VIII and the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) VIII reaffirmed their commitment to advancing regional development through disaster resilience during a joint meeting held at the Ormoc City Hall on 26 September 2023. This was the two Councils’ first collaboration since their joint meeting with the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) in 2018.

Both Councils emphasized the integral role of disaster resilience in achieving sustainable development, particularly for the region, which is highly susceptible to disasters due to its geographical location.

In her welcome message, RDC VIII Chairperson and Ormoc City Mayor Lucy Marie Torres-Gomez underscored that “disaster resilience is not merely an option but an absolute necessity that must be integrated into our developmental agenda.” She further stated that “[o]ur region has endured the repercussions of nature’s wrath, bearing witness to the devastating impact it leaves in its wake. Within this context, we emphasize the crucial role of disaster resilience in shaping a more sustainable, secure, and stronger Eastern Visayas.”

RDRRMC VIII Chairperson and OCD VIII Regional Director Lord Byron Torrecarion, PhD also highlighted the Philippines’ top ranking in terms of disaster risks and stressed the interdependence between development and resilience. “There is no development without resilience, just as there is no resilience without development,” he said. He also pointed out the timeliness of the meeting as the region enters the fourth quarter, historically marked by the onset of powerful typhoons, such as Yolanda.

Among the relevant concerns discussed was the conduct of the HANDA Pilipinas: Innovations in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Visayas Exposition 2023, scheduled on 8-10 November 2023 at the Summit Hotel, Tacloban City. Themed “Super Typhoon Yolanda Remembered: Understanding Risks and Preventing Disasters,” the exposition gains significance with the forthcoming 10th anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Other crucial topics were also discussed, including situational updates on the 5.3-magnitude earthquake in Leyte, the introduction of the Rapid Earthquake Damage Assessment System (REDAS) Crop Damage Assessment Tool (CropDAT), and various RDC VIII Sectoral and Affiliate Committee concerns recommending support for environmental initiatives and critical sustainable infrastructure projects, among others.

The collective efforts of the two Councils showcase the region’s steadfast dedication to disaster resilience and sustainable development, vital for the progress and well-being of Eastern Visayas.

Article by:  Gladys Sobrio, DRD

Photos by:  Knulp Aseo, DRD