Benguet gets US grant

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Friday, July 25, 2014


IN ITS EFFORT to reinforce disaster risk reduction and response program in the province, Benguet will receive close to P15 million from the United States Agency for International Development through the United Nations World Food Program.

The fund was given based on a memorandum of agreement signed by the province and the US, which aims to increase risk reduction initiatives in nine provincial governments, 23 municipal governments and eight cities outside Metro Manila by strengthening their capacity for climate change adaptation.

The MOA signing was part of the US commitment to advance the disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation measures in the region.

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"We welcome these help coming from the international community as it will help us strengthen our disaster reduction capabilities as we remember in 2009 during typhoon Ondoy, communication equipments played a vital role in our response to the disaster," said Governor Nestor Fongwan.

US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg, during his visit in Tublay on July 24, led the ribbon-cutting ceremony of an Emergency Operations Center. With USG support, the Municipality of Tublay, along with several local government units, constructed Emergency Operations Centers to serve as hubs for disaster management activities.

"The US government (USG) is committed to working with the Philippine Government to strengthen the capacity of communities to mitigate, prepare for, and respond to natural disasters and to increase resilience to global climate change,” Goldberg said.

Through the DRR program, the population of upland communities, particularly women, received training and materials to pursue coffee farming as livelihood. The coffee farming activity, which was designed to prevent landslides in Tublay, also helped boost the average income of women farmers.

Tublay is one of the five towns in Benguet, which will benefit from the enhanced disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation measures. Other towns include Atok, Buguias, Kapangan and Kibungan.

Meanwhile, US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Brian L. Goldbeck, along with Governor Fongwan and municipal mayors, announced new USAID-funded grants amounting to P14.8 million will support DRR activities in five partner local government units in Benguet, as well as the University of the Philippines - Baguio, and the local People’s Initiative for Learning and Community Development.

“These grants are intended to build the capacity of the awardees to implement high-impact solutions to minimize their communities’ exposure to the dangers of natural disasters. With this additional support, we hope to contribute to our collective commitment to help vulnerable communities save lives, properties, and livelihoods,” said Goldbeck.

“In close coordination with the Philippine Government and under the Partnership for Growth, the United States and the Philippines are working to support communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change to help achieve more inclusive and resilient growth for Filipinos,” said Reed Aeschliman, Deputy Mission director, USAID Philippines, who was present throughout the two-day series of events.

Praveen Agrawal, WFP representative and country director and Onoura Daniels, WFP DRR Program coordinator also attended the event.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 26, 2014.

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