By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippines is expected to boost its disaster preparedness and response capabilities with the launching of the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA) Phase II warehouse on Monday.
The DELSA Phase II warehouse was inaugurated at the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Logistics Command depot at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. It was seen as a fitting start for the observance of the 2019 National Disaster Resilience Month this July.
In his speech, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana stressed that preparedness is one of the keys for the Philippines’ national disaster management agencies and systems to overcome the “serious challenge” of the growing force and frequency of storms, typhoons and other hazards.
Located along the “Pacific Ring of Fire,” the Philippines encounters at least 20 tropical cyclones every year, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).
“If caught unprepared, the toll on death, injured and displaced would be staggering. One can see how these numbers add up and be almost an insurmountable odd to a government working in isolation,” he said.
Lorenzana noted that the impact of disasters in the livelihood of people, businesses and trade, and the overall economy of a country are “serious concerns that have to be dealt with effectively.”
Furthermore, the Defense Chief said that the establishment of a DELSA warehouse in the Philippines would boost the ties of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) with its ASEAN counterparts.
The facility will house additional stockpiles of relief items and equipment for disaster response not only for disaster-stricken communities in the Philippines but also for other ASEAN states.
The first DELSA warehouse was established in Chainat, Thailand during the 34th ASEAN Summit late last month.
The newly-inaugurated warehouse will also form part of the network of ASEAN satellite warehouses across the region.
The facility will be co-managed by the OCD and AHA Center, and supported by the government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF).
The launching of DELSA Phase II warehouse was attended by representatives from ASEAN member-states and diplomatic corps, ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Center), Office of Civil Defense (OCD), and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) among others.