TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines-The town of St. Bernard in Southern Leyte is competing for this year’s United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction.

The 2013 UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction is given to an individual or institutions that have initiated active efforts in reducing and advocating disaster risk reduction in their respective communities. The awarding will be on May this year in Switzerland.

This year’s theme is on “Acting As One” and with a prize money of US$50,000.

“Since 2008 and annually, Saint Bernard is the recipient of The Gawad Kalasag Award, a Presidential Award through the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) given to local governments with the best DRRM practices. Learning from its experience in 2006, Saint Bernard continues to strengthen its mission and efforts in reducing exposure to risks…,” said Rosalinda Jane Araneta, the MDRRMC Public Info Team Chair/ Tourism Operations Officer.

“Up to this time, it has continued to act in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders including government, civil society organizations, the private sector, media, science, and the academe. Various National Government Agencies (NGAs)and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, ACCORD, CARE, Gawad Kalinga, Plan International, Habitat for Humanity, JICA, and The Red Cross, among others continue to work together as partners with the local government of Saint Bernard in building capacities and in reducing the impacts of disasters,” added Araneta in a statement.

Araneta also attributed the pro-active management style of Mayor Rico Rentuza which encouraged community participation and inter-agency linkages to raise more awareness against imminent disasters in their town.

It can be recalled that in February 17, 2006, a massive landslide killed more than a thousand residents in the village of Guinsaugon in St. Bernard.

First published at

Leyte Samar Daily Express

Sunstar Tacloban