The Annual Search for Excellence in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) and Humanitarian Assistance recently concludedpr40b and the regional Gawad KALASAG awardees for 2013 were announced and awarded during the National Disaster Consciousness Month (NDCM) Culmination Program and Regional Awarding of Gawad Kalasag 2013 last July 31, 2013 at the LJ Mega Convention Hall in Saint Joseph Subdivision, Butuan City.

KALASAG, which stands for Kalamidad at Sakuna Labanan, Sariling Galing ang Kalingtasan, is the Filipino term for “shield” used by early Filipinos as a means of protection from attacks of enemies or harmful animals. Fittingly, Gawad KALASAG was conceived to protect or shield high risk communities against hazards by encouraging participation of various stakeholders in designing and implementing DRRM projects, and has been the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC)’s recognition scheme for excellence in the field of DRRM and humanitarian assistance since 1998. Stakeholders include Local DRRM Coordinating Councils (PDRRMC, MDRRMC, CDRRMC and BDRRMC for the provinces, municipalities, cities and barangays, respectively), Non-Government Organizations (NGO), private volunteer organizations and government emergency managers.

This year’s awardees are: the PDRRMC of Surigao del Norte for the provincial category; CDRRMC of Butuan City for the Highly Urbanized Cities Category; MDRRMC of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur for the First to Third Class Municipalities category, BDRRMC of San Juan, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur for the Rural Barangay Category; SIKAP, Inc. as Best Civil Society Organization; Agusan National High School of Butuan City as Best School; RESPOND (Rescue and Emergency Service Provider on Disaster) of Nasipit, Agusan del Norte as Best Private Organization; and Agusan National High School—School DRRM Committee, Butuan City, as Heroic Act of Groups in Providing Humanitarian Assistance.

The same regional awardees will represent Caraga region in the National Search for 2013 Gawad KALASAG.

The awards were announced by Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Director, Lilibeth A. Famacion, as Vice Chairperson for the Disaster Preparedness of the RDRMMC and Chairperson of the Regional Search Committee. Also around to present the awards were RDRRMC members: Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Director Liza R. Mazo, Chairperson of the RDRRMC; Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Regional Director Dominga D. Mallonga, Vice Chair Person for Disaster Prevention and Mitigation; and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA)  Regional Director Carmencita S. Cochingco, Vice Chairperson for Disaster Rehabilitation and Recovery.

In toto, the Gawad KALASAG recognizes the exceptional contributions of the various DRM practitioners in rebuilding the resilience of nations and communities to disasters, and at the same time, promotes the spirit of volunteerism among agencies and individuals in terms of response during crises. (Don Manuelo O. Patrimonio, Statistician I, DILG Region 13-Caraga)

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