DOST Secretary Renato Solidum, Jr. promotes disaster resilience at the opening of BRX 2022

Department of Science and Technology Secretary Renato Solidum, Jr. delivered the keynote message at the opening of the Barangay Resilience Exchange (BRX) 2022 last October 13, 2022. Now on its second year, this annual conference for community leaders all over the Philippines is being organized by Cebuana Lhuillier Foundation to promote disaster resilience as its contribution to nation building. 

Keynote Message of DOST Secretary Renato Solidum Jr

The difference between victims of disasters and victors is how they handle adversities. The first one suffers from the same repeated story; the latter moves forward and builds capacities.

And we are all here, attending the Barangay Resilience Exchange 2022 to reaffirm our commitment to becoming Victors against disasters. You, at the Barangay level, are our engine behind the pursuit of building disaster resilience in the Philippines.

Pero ano nga ba ang nagsisimbolo ng matatag at mahusay na barangay laban sa mga sakuna? Ano nga ba ang batayan ng laging handang barangay?

In the Department of Science and Technology, we subscribe to the idea that “prevention means the difference between disasters and resilience”. We emphasize that disasters are preventable by understanding current risks and anticipating future scenarios; That we can actually prevent and mitigate disasters by building our capacities through early warning systems, structural interventions, planning, community-based programs, and environmental preservation, among others.

In building resilience, science informs us. Science guides our decision-making. However, it is what you do with the information you received that makes science work. Your part is to recognize science as your valuable tool and implement actions towards resilience.

For instance, in the development of your Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan, we need to recognize the role of the Barangay beyond disaster response. The Barangay DRRM Committee has an important role to play in ensuring the risks are understood and relayed down to the community or household level and that the plan we develop gives more focus on prevention and mitigation strategies. We need to harness community participation and collaboration before a disaster strikes because you are at the frontline of the disaster resilience agenda.

And we feel this most strongly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every Filipino is our first line of defense against health risks and other risks from typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, from climate change. We are living in new risk realities where risks are systemic, compounding, and cascading.

So for me, a barangay that puts premium on science and technology, and a barangay that harnesses community participation is a symbol of Mahusay, Matatag at Laging handa na Barangay. We have the power to save lives, save livelihoods through disaster prevention and mitigation. So, let us maximize it.

I wish you a productive conference in this year’s Barangay Resilience Exchange.

Sa muli po, maraming salamat.

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