Media plays a key role in the overall campaign for disaster resilient communities nationwide considering that it is the source of vital information that could be used not only be decision makers but also the public as their guide in what actions to take during the occurrence of disasters in their places. The magnitude of disasters nowadays has been aggravated by the serious negative effects of climate change, thus, their effects to life and limb has become worst. Natural calamities will always be there in our midst but its effects to the communities often lead to disasters because people are often caught unaware on the magnitude of the calamity and their readiness to face the consequences of the said calamity.
The signing into law of Republic Act (RA) 10121 or the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Law has established the needed disaster risk reduction systems and structures from the national down to the barangay levels to guar4antee the calculated response to the occurrence of calamities to lessen their impact to lives and properties, especially in vulnerable communities around the archipelago. The law defined the specific roles of the various disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) councils and ensured the close coordination among agencies and local governments in times of disasters to guarantee the readiness of the public for whatever scenarios that will transpire before, during and after the occurrence of calamities in different parts of the country. It is not only during calamities that people should start working on DRRM interventions that even during peace time, agencies and local governments should always be active in advancing the interest of DRRM by providing the public with sufficient information so that they will know what to do when calamities visit their places. The structure of DRRM is anchored on the national and local governments, the community and the family which are considered as the layers of the structure wherein the resilience must boil down up to the family members so that the prescribed zero casualties could be achieved in times of emergencies that could happen anytime.
Under all the DRRM structures, the media is part of the overall system because it is actually the link between the decision makers and policy makers and the public that is why journalists must also be properly equipped in terms of sufficient knowledge on DRRM to be able to educate the people on the necessary things to do before, during and after the occurrence of calamities in certain places around the country. The recent Seminar-Workshop on DRRM for media practitioners, information officers and even students is part of re-tooling journalists for them to be able to report the untold stories on disaster resilience and for the media to carry stories beyond the numbers for the appreciation of the listening and viewing public. For quite a long period of time, reportage on calamities has always been confined to the number of casualties because it is the easiest way of getting prominent space and air time during disasters but the resilience of villages, especially the vulnerable ones, had always been sidelined and overtaken by the stories on casualties and casualties alone.
We agree to the advocacy of the Center for Community Journalism and Development, Inc. that it is high time for journalists to think out of the box, move out of their comfort zones and start focusing on disaster resilience stories among others to inform, educate and convince the public to embrace the basics of disaster risk reducti8on to help in efforts to achieve zero casualties even in vulnerable communities around the country.
However, before we advocate for DRRM in the mainsteam media, we must make sure that the members of our families are well informed on what to do during the occurrence of calamities so that we will be confident to do our coverages during the wrath of nature not only in our places but also in other calamity-stricken areas. We must make sure that the people in the media industry and the members of their families are safe in their houses before journalists will be able to effectively and efficiently do DRRM coverages.
By providing the public with the needed information through printed and broadcasted news reports that are the products of in-depth researches and views coming from the various sources, media will be able to attract readers and listeners to patronize their outfits because of the knowledge that they will derive from reading or listening to DRRM stories that serve as their guide in their everyday life.
We call on concerned government agencies and local governments to provide and equip the media with the needed information that will complement our researches and interviews for the media to be able to come out with long running DRRM stories that will serve as a learning process for local officials and the public to emulate in their areas of jurisdiction, especially in the different parts of the region where vulnerability of communities is so high, so that we will be able to cascade the needed information to the people on the importance of DRRM in theireveryday cycle of life.
We have to remember that DRRM is everybody’s priority concern because it is for the general welfare of the public as they strive for success in thei