Last November 11, Iligan City Mayor Frederick Siao signed a memorandum of understanding with the Aboitiz Foundation, Pilmico Foods Corporation (Pilmico), Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT), the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation and the National Resilience Council (NRC) for a three-year partnership towards building a disaster- and climate-resilient city in Mindanao.
“With my deep advocacy in disaster resiliency, I firmly believe that risk reduction is a cross-cutting issue that requires a long-term planning perspective, mainstreaming and integration across sectors, and a change in mindset from response to preparation and prevention. Just as important is the realization that reducing risks and impacts of disasters is a shared responsibility among the many actors and other concerned stakeholders,” said Mayor Siao.
The partnership is part of NRC’s Adopt-A-City program, an innovative pathway for businesses to collaborate directly with local governments, academic partners, civil society organizations and communities in transforming local climate and disaster risk landscapes. The three-year program includes tracks in Leadership & Governance (L&G) and Science & Technology (S&T) to guide and empower the City Government of Iligan as they develop and implement scientific and technology-based plans, policies and systems to make their city more resilient.
Aboitiz Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the Aboitiz Group, has long stressed the critical role of the private sector in building sustainable and resilient cities.
“For us in the Aboitiz Group, co-creating resilience to disasters is a necessity and investment. This Adopt-A-City Program in Iligan is a start of a meaningful partnership in co-creating resilient, empowered and sustainable communities. I am confident that this multi-stakeholder and integrated system approach can further develop the coherent positions needed for operationalizing Disaster Risk Reduction and contribute to the greater commitment in achieving resilient cities and communities,” added Marasigan, extending the Aboitiz Foundation’s full support to Mayor Siao’s resilience vision and to Iligan City’s journey toward resilience.
Additionally, during his opening message, NRC Executive Director Sly Barrameda emphasized the Council’s commitment to supporting LGUs in co-creating resilient solutions as cities like Iligan confront multiple threats from natural and human-induced hazards. This includes the threat of climate change and the continuing consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This partnership with Iligan City is part of NRC’s commitment to bringing science and technology solutions closer to local governments and communities. NRC believes that through multi-sectoral collaborations, we can co-create solutions to persisting risks, both natural and human-induced, and develop innovative solutions to protect people, assets, livelihoods and properties from disasters and the effects of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Barrameda.
Pilmico Vice President for Operations Engr. Florencio D. Sebandal echoed the Aboitiz Group’s unequivocal support and commitment to leading the private sector’s resilience efforts in the city through the Adopt-A-City program.
“As partners for growth, we in Pilmico have continuously sought opportunities where we can use what we have to bring a positive and lasting impact on the community. That is why we are fortunate to be a part of this undertaking – a program that is very much aligned with our objective of driving and promoting innovative mindsets and driving change for a better world through our various CSR programs by co-creating resilient, sustainable and empowered communities,” said Sebandal.
As the primary academic partner in this endeavor, MSU-IIT rallied support for the program by pledging to provide knowledge, expertise and technology transfer to the City Government of Iligan.
“MSU-IIT is ready and willing to support the needs of our City. To fulfill our responsibilities in this partnership, we offer the knowledge and expertise of our faculty members and our institution through our Mindanao Center for Resiliency. The Adopt-A-City program reflects our core mission as an academic institution, and it is in line with MSU-IIT’s vision to create a new academic program on disaster resilience in our university,” expressed MSU-IIT Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension Dr. Gaudencio C. Petalcorin, Jr., PhD. Petalcorin signed as the representative of MSU-IIT signatory Chancellor Alizedney M. Ditucalan.
At the conclusion of the signing ceremony, Mayor Siao expressed gratitude to the Adopt-A-City partners and pledged to strengthen disaster and climate resilience leadership and governance in the city. He also urged the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Council to fully support the program’s implementation.
Along with Mayor Siao, Barrameda, Marasigan, Sebandal, and Ditucalan, the MOU was also signed by Carlos P. Romulo Foundation Board Member Ricardo J. Romulo.
Xavier University, represented by its Vice President for Social Development Engr. Dexter S. Lo, was also present at the MOU signing to show its support for the new Adopt-A-City LGU and NRC Academic Partner in Mindanao. Xavier University is the primary academic partner of NRC in the Cagayan de Oro Adopt-A-City Program.
The MOU signing was followed by an afternoon work planning session. Members of the Local DRRM Council were in attendance to help Mayor Siao put his resilience vision into action.
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