Communicators told: Rally for disaster prep

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

TAGUM CITY -- Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) Secretary Luwalhati Antonino called on government communicators in Mindanao to rally for disaster preparedness and resiliency to climate change.

In a message to participants of the 2013 Mindanao Communicators Congress and Workshop held last week in this city, Antonino pointed out the need for "all to become resilient to climate change" and to pursue measures to safeguard the gains of economic growth of Mindanao.

She cited as imperative to tell the people of Mindanao the diminishing state of forests which now covers only 23 percent and to encourage them to do something about it.

"We also need to tell the people of Mindanao that climate change is here to stay and that we can no longer afford to implement palliative or stop-gap measures when disaster strikes," she said in a speech delivered by PIA regional director Efren F. Elbanbuena, president of the Mindanao Communicators Network (MindaComnet).

She said the need for Mindanaons to know that Mindanao no longer stood at the typhoon-free path and that “everyone is vulnerable to climate change.
"These messages must trickle in to the senses of the people, and that is part of our job," she said.

Mindanao had grim experiences with Tropical Storm Sendong that hit the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in 2011 and Typhoon Pablo that left heavy damage in the provinces of Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley in 2012.

Antonino cited these as experiences teaching "us to be more pro-active in educating the people about disaster preparedness," which she considered as a "daunting task for communicators."

Such phenomena encouraged Minda to reach out to people in Leyte and Samar severely smashed to ground level by super Typhoon Yolanda that swept through and made several landfall in Central Visayas on November 8 this year.

Antonino said Minda partnered with several Mindanao-based private companies and local government units in a relief operation called "One Mindanao for Visayas" using funds allotted supposedly for Minda Christmas party.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 10, 2013.


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