June 9, 2016
In response to the threats of climate change, the Catholic Church through the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) will be strengthening the capacities of its employees and volunteers in responding to emergencies and disasters.
National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez said at least 10 disaster-prone dioceses in the country will be part of the program called PEACH (European-Asian Partnership for Building Capacities in Humanitarian Action).
The European Union – funded program was recently launched in Bangkok, Thailand with Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle as one of the guest speakers.
It will be implemented in the Philippines from April this year to March of 2018.
“This is very timely as we all know that the Philippines remains at the doorstep of climate-change induced disasters. Through this program, we hope to strengthen our people’s skills and competencies so we won’t be caught by surprise when disaster strikes,” Gariguez said.
Based on the 2014 World Risk Report, the Philippines ranked second with the greatest risk to disaster worldwide in terms of climate change vulnerability.
Aside from the Philippines, the PEACH program will also be implemented in six other countries namely Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Czechoslovakia and Romania, with Caritas Austria managing the entire program.
Among the expected results by the end of the two-year program are: strengthened disaster risk management, preparedness and response linking relief, rehabilitation and development, and volunteer management according to the European Union Aid Volunteers standards.
NASSA/Caritas Philippines is currently on the third year of implementing the Catholic Church’s largest rehabilitation program for Typhoon Yolanda survivors called #REACHPhilippines in nine provinces worst-hit by the typhoon.
Aside from this, it also implements a climate change adaptation program called FARM-FIRST in eight provinces by helping farmers and fishermen adapt to changing environmental conditions for food security and environmental preservation.
The seven participating Caritas Internationalis Member Organizations including NASSA/Caritas Philippines join the kick-off meeting of the PEACH program in Bangkok, Thailand that would strengthen the capacity of church workers and volunteers in responding to emergencies and disasters.
April Ann Abello-Bulanadi