Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Thoughts from a Disaster Preparedness and Response Conference

This one, too, is worth sharing...

I recently came from the World Food Programme-Philippines 2015 National Forum on Disaster Preparedness and Response (DPR). The participants in that conference included representatives from relevant national government agencies and local government units, representatives from the academia, non-government organizations and civil society organizations who are partners of WFP-Philippines.
One of the highlights of the activity was a workshop wherein participants were made to assess the Philippines’ capacity for DPR, using a WFP-developed tool. While the data generated were from the areas where WFP-Philippines have active DPR interventions and cannot speak for the Philippines, the results spoke a lot about where interventions are/will be most needed. Among the critical gaps identified were the need to educate people not only on disaster management but more importantly on disaster risk management and the need to communicate the so-called “new normal” down to the barangay level to increase awareness among people about being informed/prepared for disasters. The information and communication challenges to overcome are inclusion and participation.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 was also discussed. The Sendai Framework is a precursor instrument of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters. The Sendai Framework (2015) emphasizes disaster risk management as opposed to disaster management, risk prevention and mitigation, resilience building, underscores collective responsibilities and the importance of translating this global framework to science-based policies and programs at the local level and leveraging on technologies.
The Sendai Framework (2015) identifies four priorities for action, namely: (1) understanding disaster risk, (2) strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk, (3) investing in disaster risk reduction and resilience, and (4) enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “build back better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction. Under each of these priorities are global goals which have policy and program implications at the global and regional and national and local levels.

The Philippines’ conrtibution to this is the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan, 2011-2018. Four themes with corresponding national goals were identified (See Figure). The document identifies responsibilities and strategies for plan implementation based on provisions of the Republic Act 10121. The law mandates the local government units to localize this national plan to address distinct requirements from the regional, municipal, and barangay levels.
Another important contribution is the DRR Knowledge Center, the online library for Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management. Everyone will benefit from this resource. 
I agree that translating this framework to policy and practice may be challenging because it requires not only resources but also capacities and a shift in thinking from being reactive to proactive. It will be, of value, nonetheless to acknowledge that each has a contribution to make, no matter how little. Information professionals and communication practitioners, in particular, play an important role across all phases of information and education campaigns and can influence information and communication policy and practice in disaster preparedness and response.   

A Treasure Trove for Researchers, Librarians, Mindanaoans

It is not everyday one gets to stumble upon some treasure. While navigating the web for a research paper I am intending to write, I came upon eMindanao Library: An Annotated Bibliography.

This project, initiated by the Center for Philippine Studies at the University of Hawa'i at Manoa, forms part of a bigger e-Mindanao Project. The vision is to eventually come up with a web-based repository of digital resources to include both born digital and digitized resources.

Perhaps it will be worth exploring  ways of getting involved. Researchers, academics and librarians from Mindanao and the Philippines can probably contribute by building on this bibliography. It will sure be a wealth of information that will mainstream Mindanao's narratives and surface the creative and critical minds of its people

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Leveraging on the Power of Mass and Social Media and the AlDub Fever

The library and information science professionals, advocates for libraries, educators and legislators should leverage on the AlDub fever and the power and mass and social media to elevate the Filipino consciousness on the value of libraries as learning and community spaces.

The primary motivation for going to the Ang Tamang Panahon event may have been the AlDen loveteam and not the cause the event carries but there is reason to be hopeful still. Finally, Filipinos are talking about libraries. Hopefully, this will set a trend for others to follow and put pressure on legislators to finally revisit Republic Act 7743 and study relevant laws that seek to amend it. 

For the AlDub Project proponents, it would make sense to mobilize and consult a broad range of stakeholders for a needs-based and policy-backed program development to ensure community ownership and participation and more importantly, sustainability.

For library and information science professionals, advocates for libraries, educators and legislators, it would make sense to connect with the AlDub Library Project proponents to contribute expert advise and to learn from their communication and marketing strategies that leverage on media of all forms to generate public interest and support for public libraries.

I look forward to more inclusive learning spaces for Mindanaoans. For now, it may be realistic to hope to see the first AlDub Library for the lumads (indigenous peoples) of Mindanao.

Let us see where the AlDub Project will go. Meanwhile, let us draw important lessons and insights.

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Salute to My First Boss

“Nasaan ka? I am going to the Davao City Library to inaugurate the Iranian Section. I hope to see you there are 2:00 p.m.”
Wasn’t it barely three weeks ago you texted me this? Now I am full of regrets that I missed this chance to see you. I wish I had known it was to be the last. I thought I we could still sit down together and catch up with each other. I have been looking forward to seeing you on the first week of November to discuss matters ranging from professional to personal. That day was not to come. You left without warning.
Goodbye, Boss Tony. I have not had the chance to see you and I never will. But that short exchange we had three weeks ago carries a very strong message I could not quite fathom yet, but I know will unfold at the proper time.
Rest in peace and be confident that you made a difference to me and to many, Atty. Antonio M. Santos.
(Atty. Santos, Director of the National Library of the Philippines, was my first boss, one of the few who really made a difference and who inspired me to love and be proud of my profession. I first met him when I was a freshman at UP Diliman working part-time as a Student Assistant at the UP College of Law Library. )