A UNDP Officer Geronimo Giusto Robelo [back on camera] briefs Mission participants on the Cash For Work and Debris Management project undertaken in Cabinuangan, New Bataan.

NEW BATAAN, Compostela Valley -The Typhoon Pablo relief and rehabilitation initiatives in New Bataan was the focus of Day Two of the High-Level Partnership Mission to the Philippines from June 16-20 organized by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

According to OCHA Davao Head of Office Mel Schmidt the mission was initiated by the UN Emergency Relief Coordination “to reach out to non-traditional donors and engage OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) countries by showing them how the UN system operates and how the UN works closely with governments.”

Held in Manila, Day One provided the delegates with a briefing on the Multi-lateral Humanitarian Response System including the humanitarian leadership, cluster approach, financing and advocacy. This was followed with a briefing on the national disaster risk reduction and management system, TS Pablo response and ongoing peace processes. Finally, a briefing on the Humanitarian Situation in the Philippines and the Humanitarian Action Plan ensued.

DSWD OIC RD Priscilla N. Razon hopes that through this mission “we will be able to showcase different projects that have been vigorously undertaken by the various responders to TS Pablo.”

Gov. Arturo T. Uy and Mayor Lorenzo Balbin Jr. of New Bataan welcomed the delegation at the Provincial Capitol Social Hall Monday morning where delegates were briefed on the impact of and response to Typhoon Pablo.

Field visits were conducted at ‘Ground Zero’ in Barangay Andap; Andap National High School, primary and day care centers; site of bunkhouses and permanent shelters; and the Cash For Work and debris management site at Barangay Cabinuangan.

At the onsite briefing in Barangay Andap, Lynne M. Dollolasa, Social Welfare Officer 3 and Tourism Officer shared the tragic experience of the town, the recovery and rehabilitation efforts as well as the numerous humanitarian assistance received. She also cited humanitarian needs and gaps like mitigation initiatives, namely; installation of early warning devices and construction of flood control dikes. Other crucial projects she mentioned include reconstruction of community facilities, day care centers and school buildings; restoration of water supply; and permanent shelter.

On the one hand, necessary interventions for the day care service were presented i.e. psycho-social support, supplementary feeding, tents, nutritional screening and school supplies. Moreover, day care children and their parents clamoured for the reconstruction of 14 day care centers, repair of 32 day care centers, learning tools, playground facilities and livelihood for parents.

Led by OCHA Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Luisa Carvalho, the Mission delegates were coordinators, heads, assistant secretaries, directors, ambassadors, and counsellors of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, OCHA Geneva, International Islamic Charity Organization, Embassy of United Arab Emirates, Indonesian Embassy, Kuwait Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey Response Department, Malaysia National Security Council, OCHA New York, Alliance of Civilizations, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, Ministry of Indonesia, and UNICEF.

Representing the Philippine government were DND Undersecretary and Executive Director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Eduardo Del Rosario, DFA Assistant Secretary Jesus Domingo, and DSWD XI Director Priscilla N. Razon.

The Mission proceeds to Cotabato City Tuesday for a briefing on the ARMM humanitarian situation and to meet up with the Mindanao Humanitarian Team.

According to OCHA the Mission above all aims to strengthen partnerships among the government, OIC and the international humanitarian community as well as enhance national and local capacities for emergency preparedness and response for both natural disaster and conflict situations in the Philippines. DSWD