ILOILO City – The yearly Gawad KALASAG (KAlamidad at Sakuna LAbanan SAriling Galing ang Kaligtasan) is the country’s premier awards for outstanding contribution in the fields of disaster risk reduction and management and humanitarian assistance.
It is the principal mechanism by which the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) advances awareness of the best practices of DRRM and humanitarian response and action.
During the 21stedition of the awards (regional level) here recently, however, former Office of Civil Defense administrator Alexander Pama told awardees, “More than anything else…ang pinakadako naton nga premyo ang kon may mag-igo man sa aton nga bagyo, wala sang may madisgrasya (our biggest prize is not having casualties when disaster strikes).”
“Kalasag” is also the Filipino term for “shield” used by early Filipinos as a means of protection from attacks of enemies or harmful animals.
According to Pama, communities’ disaster risk reduction and management councils, whether provincial, city, municipal or barangay, must have the capability to save lives.
The Gawad KALASAG is given to individuals, nongovernment organizations, private sector and government organizations, in recognition of their initiative in helping the government uplift the standard of disaster management.
This year’s regional awardees were the following:
* Best Provincial DRRM Council Category – Aklan (first), Capiz (second), Antique (third)
* Best Highly Urbanized City DRRM Council Category – Iloilo City
* Best Component City DRRM Council Category – Bago City
* Best Municipal DRRM Council, 1st to 3rd Class Category – Binalbagan, Negros Occidental (first), Miag-ao, Iloilo (second), Jamindan, Capiz (third)
* Best Municipal DRRM Council, 4th to 6th Class Category – Dumalag, Capiz
* for higher educational institutions – Capiz State University (first),
Saint Gabriel College of Kalibo, Aklan (second)
* Best Volunteer Organization – Amity Volunteer Fire Bridge of Bacolod City
* Best People’s Organization – Kami Sunoi, Inc. (Binalbagan, Negros Occidental)
* Special recognition – Pauline Ann M. Lamela (individuals); St. Anthony College of Roxas City, Inc. (private hospitals)
* Best Local Government Emergency Management and Response Team – City of Bago Emergency Response (first), Capiz Emergency Response Team (second)
* Best Primary Public Elementary School – Bancal Elementary School in Carles (first), San Miguel Elementary School in La Carlota City (second), Tarong Elementary School in Carles (third)
* Best Secondary Public High School – Sapian National High School in Capiz (first), Tubungan National High in Iloilo (second), Jose Diva Avelino Jr. National High School in Pontevedra, Capiz (third)
Other DRRM advocates and partners were also cited, including members of the media such as Panay News, the No. 1 regional newspaper in the country./PN