Foreign donors prefer Albay’s disaster rehabilitation model

LEGAZPI CITY, Feb. 5 (PNA) –Foreign donors engaged in the post-”Yolanda” reconstruction have expressed preference for Albay’s “geostrategic redevelopment” model in their rehabilitation assistance programs, designed to help build new and disaster resilient communities in Leyte and Samar and other parts of the country.

The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the Spanish aid agency Agencia Espanol de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarollo (AECID), two of such foreign funding agencies, find the Albay model preferable.

Like Leyte and Samar, Albay was previously devastated by natural disasters, the strongest of which was Reming (Durian) in 2006. Through its ‘build-back-better-elsewhere’ strategy, Albay has pursued a totally new concept in rehabilitation and redevelopment that saw its recovery and vibrant revival.

Both the study made by a British think tank and the recent climate study of the Philippines by World Bank which also cited the British think tanks’s report, have found the Albay reconstruction model as most effective.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said AECID, which recently renewed its partnership with his province, has opted to employ the Albay model for the many communities it now assists in Eastern Visayas.

Salceda, who chairs the UN Green Climate Fund, said AECID has asked the technical assistance of Albay in designing the financial framework, resource allocation and the strategy of the Spanish assistance based on the designs now essentially being implemented in Albay.

JICA, which like AECID, has partnered extensively with Albay, is similarly drawing lessons and technics from their Albay experience for their new engagements in Yolanda devastated areas.

Salceda said Albay’s Guicadale Economic Township project exemplifies their “geostrategic intervention” which foreign donors now find as the first best policy approach to geologically and climatically challenged locations.

Albay’s geostrategic redevelopment builds up on traditional approaches that start with asset restoration which are then dynamically scaled up to disaster-proofing or disaster-resiliency.

The Departments of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Public Works and Highways (DPWH) which are deeply involved in the Yolanda reconstruction have likewise endorsed the Albay Model, as the best strategy so far, in building new and disaster resilient communities.

DILG Undersecretary Austere Panadero had endorsed the Albay Model as a better strategy. She was in Albay recently with Local Government Academy Dir. Marivel C. Sacendencillo, for a visit to newly built evacuation centers and briefings on Albay DRR strategy at the Climate Change Academy at the Bicol University.

During an earlier JICA-sponsored DRR seminar at the Dusit Thani Hotel Manila, DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson said Albay’s rebuilding strategy is worth replicating, particularly the “designs of evacuation centers that also serve as classrooms and not classrooms that serve as evacuation centers”.

The seminar, dubbed “Build Back Better: The Path towards Reconstruction through Japanese and Philippine Good Practices,” was attended by local and foreign DRR practitioners, reconstruction experts and JICA representatives. (PNA)