SAN GABRIEL, La Union– With its outstanding work and initiatives on disaster risk reduction and management, the local government of San Gabriel here recently won in the 18th Gawad KALASAG National Awards.
San Gabriel, a mountainous municipality with 12 upland villages out of its 15, is the Gawad KALASAG (Kalamidad at Sakuna Labanan Sariling Galing ang Kaligtasan) bagged fourth runner-up under the fourth to sixth class municipality category.
Gawad KALASAG is the country’s recognition body to various stakeholders with exemplary DRRM program and best practices on humanitarian response and action.
Local government units (LGUs) like San Gabriel are on the frontline in responding to any natural disaster. Any adverse weather occurrences affect the people and the community but pro-active planning is crucial in dealing with these disasters.
One of San Gabriel’s best practices is its “Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Program” in 2013 with the identification of a disaster point person in each village, who is tasked to receive and disseminate information regarding upcoming hazards or disasters.
The village chief and the chief tanod are the primary and secondary point persons, respectively, while the barangay council member who heads the social services is the auxiliary point person.
As part of strengthening its Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the municipal government has prepared and completed the community profile of their municipality and disaster risk reduction and management plan for calendar years 2013-2017 and conducted community risk assessment.
Disaster mitigation measures are also integrated in its comprehensive land use plan, comprehensive development plans, and annual investment programs.
The private sector, civil society organizations, and volunteers such as tricycle drivers and operators associations, k the local chapter of the La Union Vibrant Women, Inc., Red Cross 143, among others, are also involved in bthe town’s disaster mitigation measures.
Further,the municipality formed the Health Emergency Response Management Evacuation Services Search and Rescue Team composed of municipal employees and volunteers.
“Through the validation of the Regional and the National Selection Committees, their preparedness measures are in place like the trainings provided to the barangays, schools and the stakeholders, disaster equipment and facilities, and a stockpile of foods and non-food items,” Planning Officer Mark Masudog of the Office of the Civil Defense Region 1 said.
Its local ordinances also reflect the town’s concern for environment such as the Municipal Ordinance Number 11 series of 2013 or the Revised Environment Code wherein environmental programs are strictly implemented in the municipality.
To sustain a clean, green and safe community, their flagship program on environmental management dubbed as Let’s Go BASIC (Beautification and Sanitation in the Community) Towards Progress is continuously implemented.
Said program has six components, namely: solid waste management, cleanliness and environmental enhancement, prevention of environment-related diseases, greening program, eco-tourism programs, and comprehensive peace and order program.
“Gawad KALASAG is not just an award given to those with exemplary works in DRRM but also a reflection of how the determination and will of an LGU to make each people in the community, disaster-resilient and prepared,” Masudog said.
He added, “If the populace is empowered and knowledgeable, this shows that the DRRM efforts and implementations of the LGUs are effective, efficient and the people trust them.”
San Gabriel was Gawad Kalasag awardee at the regional level for 2015 and 2016. Joanna Diaz-Sabado/PIA-1, La Union