Andresa, 53, an experienced legislator in Maribojoc, Bohol, has been one of the ‘champions’ of children’s participation in disaster risk reduction in the local legislative council.
A member of the Sangguniang Bayan or the Municipal Council, Kagawad (Council Member) Andresa, along with other council members, create resolutions and ordinances that will help make a difference in the community.
“After what we’ve experienced through the years, it’s undeniable and we’ve all accepted that natural disasters are already part of our lives. We can’t avoid it, so we might as well prepare for it,” Kagawad Andresa shared.
The Philippines has implemented Republic Act No. 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Act of 2010, but local government implementation has not fully taken off.
“When Save the Children came to us about legislating disaster risk reduction (DRR) measures, it so happened that we were also in the process of creating our MDRRM Code, so we just incorporated the child-friendly provisions into the Code. Our MDRRM Code is mostly based from RA10121 (DRRM Law),” she added.
However, this was not as smooth as how it was intended. During deliberations, there were questions raised regarding the importance of children’s involvements, including its limitations.
“The inclusion of children was not readily accepted. During the deliberations, questions were raised if there was really a need to do so. The thinking was that while child involvement was accepted, they should only be involved with their own peers or children’s activities, their own thing, not with the adults… But I really do believe children should be aware, especially in DRR,” she said.
Kagawad Andresa with Save the Children pushed for the legislation to include children. Through her championing work, child participation now has a place in the local DRRM plan.
“This Code is a really important document for us now, since everything is detailed here, from prevention to preparedness to response. I’m happy that we’ve passed this ordinance. For me, this is a legacy,” Kagawad Andresa said.
Save the Children continues to provide humanitarian support in Bohol after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Central Visayas on October 15, 2013 where the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that 671,103 families were affected and 71,822 families were displaced.
Through its school-based DRR project partnered with the Prudence Foundation, schools and communities in Maribojoc and Loon are trained to better prepare for disasters through increased awareness on DRR and strengthening the capacities of regional agencies, local governments, community leaders, private sector, teachers and students on DRR and climate change adaptation (CCA). The project has built the capacity of over 5,000 students, 100 teachers, and 25 local government representatives on DRR.