PUGO, LA UNION— Planners from regional line agencies and local government units set their hopes in organizing themselves into a network as revealed during the most-awaited Cordillera Planners’ Conference on November 4-5 coordinated by NEDA-CAR.

NEDA-CAR Director Milagros Rimando steered the discussion underscoring the benefits in the form of networking opportunities, access to databases, support system, further education and training, advocacies and civic leadership.

A core group of volunteers led in the interim by Ifugao Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator Carmel Buyuccan and Apayao PPDC Henry Caluducan was formed to thresh out the best strategy to institutionalize the organization.

Fundamental to the organization is the increasing role of regional and local planners in the call for planning standards that are appropriate to the Cordillera. This shall be the subject of a forthcoming workshop that will convene the planners once again. The workshop is a prelude to the formulation of more responsive policies for the region which is a crucial element in the current quest for regional autonomy.

Built into the Conference are lectures and presentations that aimed to enhance the planners’ perspectives on disaster risks and climate change.

“This conference has provided us with much insights and knowledge from our very capable speakers. As local planners, our duties do not end in the completion of all these required plans but we [also] need to communicate and lobby with the executive and legislative leaders, and the funding agencies for the implementation of these plans,” said one of the participants.

DENR-Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director Faye Apil discussed the landslides and flood hazards affecting the region. She noted that the region is prone to geohazards due to its geographic location. These naturally-occurring threats include floods, landslides/mass movements, earthquakes and some hazards in karst areas. She mentioned structural and non-structural measures to control threats imposed by those mentioned above.

Dr. Leonila P. Bautista of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) introduced the Rapid Earthquake Damage Assessment System (REDAS) to the participants. REDAS is a software developed by PHIVOLCS which is used to simulate earthquake hazard scenarios for any given magnitude. It also generates building damage and loss estimates.

The Office of Civil Defense-CAR presented the Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction  Master Plan while the provincial planners of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province expounded on the respective Disaster Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Reports.

To mainstream disaster-risk reduction and climate change adaptation in regional and local plans, Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) Northern Luzon Regional Director Teresita V. Galacgac briefed the participants on the HLURB Guidelines; Director John Castañeda presented the DILG framework in which he underscored the ecosystem-based approach to link livelihood, environmental conditions, and climate risks; and NEDA Region 10 Director Leon M. Dacanay, Jr. shared the experiences of Region X using NEDA Guidelines.



By: Christine Mamuyac, SPCAR