It was 0.25 shy of a perfect score but certainly very impressive nonetheless.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of the province of Isabela obtained 99.75% in the 2014 Gawad Kalasag Search for Excellence in Disaster Risk Reduction and Humanitarian Assistance regional finals and was adjudged Best PDRRMC in Region II, thus, earning a berth in the national finals, while affirming its predominance in disaster preparedness in the Cagayan Valley region.
This was disclosed by Office of Civil Defense Regional Director Norma C. Talosig, Chairperson of the Regional Evaluating Committee, in her message before some four hundred participants to the first Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Summit which opened June 24, 2014 at the Gov. Faustino N. Dy Session Hall, Isabela Provincial Capitol.
It was a back-to-back victory for the province, having been given the same honors in 2013 after beating the provinces of Cagayan and Nueva Vizcaya.
Initiated in 1998, Gawad Kalasag is the NDRRMC’s recognition scheme in its search for excellence on DRRM and humanitarian assistance. It is a mechanism in obtaining sustained commitment and support by recognizing exceptional contributions of DRRM practitioners in strengthening the resilience and adaptive capacities of communities to disaster risks. The search was conceived to encourage the participation of various stakeholders in crafting and implementing DRRM programs aimed at protecting and shielding high risk communities against hazards.
Isabela Governor and Council Chair Faustino Dy III conveyed his gratitude to the leadership of OCD for the province’s latest feat, but amid the victory, was more sober in analyzing the consequences of meriting a near perfect score. “Our collective efforts have paid off,”he enthused, “ngunit marami pa tayong dapat gawin upang higit pang mapalakas ang PDRRMC at masiguro ang kaligtasan ng mga mamamayang Isabeleño sa anumang sakuna ,”he added.
“The rating should not lull us into complacency. Instead, it should inspire us to work even harder, because if we don’t, people may perish,”he cautioned the participants to the DRRM Summit, a joint undertaking of OCD and the provincial government.
Dy’s first executive order was for the reorganization of the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council which later evolved into the PDRRMC, a clear indication of the chief executive’s sense of priorities and the policy direction of his administration. He established the PDRRMO and DART 831which operate 24/7, sought the passage of an ordinance banning liquor during typhoons, intensified the training of personnel and invested heavily in state-of-the-art and top-of-the-line facilities, gadgets and equipments essential to disaster preparedness.
In 2012, the Isabela Rescue Team was also awarded the prestigious Bakas Parangal ng Kadakilaan by the NDRRMC for its Project: Rescuers Without Borders.