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Disaster risk experts from Asia gather in Manila for confab


03:59 AM July 11th, 2013

By: Niña P. Calleja, July 11th, 2013 03:59 AM

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino: We’re second in number of disasters. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—About 100 urban managers and risk experts from cities in Asia gathered in Manila on Wednesday for a two-day conference to share skills and experiences on disaster risk management.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino said this was the first time for Manila to host the Asian Crisis Management Conference, an annual event organized by Asian Network of Major Cities21 (ANMC21), an international network of Asian capitals and major cities, and the World Bank.

The two-day conference from July 10 to 11 at the Crowne Plaza, Manila Galleria, focuses on disaster rehabilitation and recovery efforts.

Experts from six of the 13 member-cities of ANMC21 attended the first day of the event, which also coincides with the country’s National Disaster Consciousness Month this July. The participants include Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

Taiwan absent

Tolentino said, however, that officials from Taipei, Taiwan, excused themselves from the conference due to the still unresolved dispute on the recent killing of a Taiwanese fisherman allegedly by members of the Philippine Coast Guard.

ANMC21 has been uniting Asian countries through joint projects tackling issues such as urban planning, sustainability and crisis management. It was formed in August 2000 as proposed by then Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara.

“It is very timely since we are among the Asian cities which are most vulnerable to disasters,” Tolentino said.

He said the Philippines has so much to learn from its Asian neighbors in terms of disaster risk reduction programs and crisis management.

The participating cities, including Metro Manila, are expected to present their own current strategic approaches on disaster mitigation, such as flood management and earthquake risks reduction.

On the second day of the event, the MMDA will lead the participants in a study tour of the Marikina Youth Camp and Amang Rodriguez Hospital where the MMDA’s Rescue Battalion and K-9 units will conduct drills and demonstrations.

A separate earthquake drill will be conducted by the personnel of the Marikina City government.

16 disasters in PH

The MMDA chief noted that the Philippines was among the Asian countries worst hit by disasters in 2012.

Citing a report from the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Tolentino said the Philippines had the second-most number of disasters in the first 10 months of 2012 with 16 recorded disasters, next only to China with 18 recorded calamities.

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