Cooperation between gov’t, humanitarian groups key to Davao Oriental’s rise after Typhoon Pablo

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The cooperation and dedication of government and humanitarian groups have played a major role in rebuilding the towns in Davao Oriental devastated by Typhoon Pablo on Dec. 4, 2012, one year and eleven months after.

This was the gist of the presentation of Dolores D. Valdesco, Environmental Planner from Davao Oriental during the 12th Mindanao Communicators Network Congress (MCN) held at the Grand Astoria Hotel here from November 12-14 with the theme, “Build back better Mindanao.”

“Given the scope of programs, projects and interventions and corresponding resources needed, the provincial government [of Davao Oriental] recognized the importance of the involvement of other entities and the need to harness and harmonize their support,” Valdesco said.

With this, the government drew up and established a convergence mechanism with partner agencies and institutions from government and non-government organizations, both local and international.

Valdesco cited the effective and efficient collaboration of partner organizations that resulted in better services and responses along emergency relief operation, housing and shelter, infrastructure, health, nutrition and sanitation, education, debris management, livelihood, industry promotion and development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

In building back Davao Oriental, particularly the three hardest hit towns of Banganga, Cateel, and Boston, the convergence has invested aggressively in the development of agriculture by providing seedlings, implements, facilities, and more importantly capacitating people once again through skills enhancement.

She said that to date, there are more than 850 farmers and 86 processors and processing groups assisted in terms of production, skills development, product development marketing, and branding. And these have generated sales and orders during international and local trade fairs.

“One year and eleven months seemed too short to regain some semblance of normalcy and heal from our Pablo experience, yet, we have done and achieved so much. But all these would not have been possible without the unstinting and dedicated support of our partner agencies, both national and international, government and private sectors,” Valdesco stressed.

Despite the challenges that may wane the spirit of the people, Davao Oriental’s “build back better” slogan was given a boost and incentive when Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sactuary was inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site on June 23, 2014 in Doha, Qatar.

“Being the first World Heritage in Mindanao, it can spur local economic development,” she said.

The Pablo experience was a defining moment for Davao Oriental. This has tried the extent of the courage, undaunted spirit and resiliency of its people.

“It [Pablo experience] has measured mankind’s capacity for goodness and generosity. It has tested the foundation of our governance and leadership,” Valdesco noted as she reiterated the magnitude of support of so many people and organizations, including the desire of the locals to build back better. (FPG/RVC/PIA9-ZBST)


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