(Before the main article, this column delves on the men and women of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) who trudge the road less traveled by, and molds a difference).
May 1, Labor Day: a log was filed by BCPO and traced unobtrusively the community spirit of BCPO with its Police Station 4, at Loakan.
The May 1 log divulged how, in bayanihan’s character, BCPO Loakan Station 4 pooled their efforts to lessen the burden of family members Mrs. Geraldine Felizardo De Guzman, 43, her husband Bernabe, 51, and their 5 children (2 of whom have special needs) living in a shanty along a muddy hill at purok Arupong, Loakan, Baguio City.
Bernabe finds work as a seasonal laborer while wife Geraldine does laundry/ housekeeping for neighbors, nearby. And she is saddled at the same time taking care of her two kids with special needs, constricting her to take in more laundry work.
Mr. and Mrs. De Guzman toil hard to raise their kids but unfortunately, the wages they receive are not enough – even for daily basic needs. And they can’t address the special needs of their two children.
Nothing costing so much but at the same time precious, BCPO Station 4 members buckled down and went to work. They initiated collaboration with different stakeholders for the reconstruction into a cement abode of the shanty of the De Guzman’s.
The BCPO report said, in part: “BCPO Loakan Station 4, Lakas Dayaw Class of 2019-01, augmented members from Gilas Diwa Class of 2019-02, Team 7 and 8 of Sinag Kidlat Class of 2020-01, Team 13, 14, 15 and 16 of PSFTP Bagsik Alab Class of 2020-03, voluntarily donated and amount,” to mount their project.
Through the “benevolence of Mr. and Mrs. Prospero Tagle Mataba Jr., of Mataba and Asan family; Mr. Melvin Cantillo of Five Sisters Hardware; Mr. and Mrs. Rogelio Boyocan of the Boyocan General Merchandise; Mr. Al A. Astudillo of Al-Eco Fill Gas Station, Pastor’s Life Network led by Pastor Timmy Nalibsan, all extended their full support for the Barangayanihan Handog Bahay project,” the report noted. All the donors reside in Baguio City.
After constructive dialogues, the Mataba-Asan family willingly allowed use of a portion of their lot for the construction of the house for the De Guzman family. In the same manner, Station 4 coordinated with Ms Ana Codley, unit social worker assigned in Loakan for the caring of the two children with special needs of the De Guzman.
It is with absolute certainty that BCPO Station 4 members, the donors and the social worker, all, who helped in the reconstruction feel a sense of satisfaction by reflecting their own cares to other human beings.
Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) — Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) public’s insight about climate change barely scratches at the surface of the problem, yet interestingly, CAR was found second among all regions in the Philippines whose inhabitants link climate change to disasters, according to a research published by Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) and released only October 2020.
Overall, the data collected that explored various dimensions and factors contributing to the association between climate change perception and disaster preparedness that will continue to be relevant for CAR’S environmental future as impacts of climate continue to worsen, the research intimated.
Public perception of climate change vulnerability is important to explore for two important reasons, the research pointed out. First: to assess against observed climate data and examine if people perceive or experience changes in their environment.
Second, to help explain people’s inaction or action, including support of climate change adaptation.
The research was conducted nationwide which involved 5,184 persons age4d 18 years old and above covering ABCDE households. ABCDE is the formal way the Philippines classifies households by economic parameters.
A total of 240 households per region were involved in the study, or totaling 4,320 households.
Two important issues were raised by the research for respondents to answer and these were, “Knowledge on climate change” and “climate change is linked to disasters.”
Of the CAR respondents randomly selected, 92 persons or 43.6 per cent “strongly agreed that climate change is linked to disasters,” coming second behind those in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Fifty-four of the CAR respondents (25.6 per cent) “strongly disagreed that climate change is linked to disasters,”
Of the total 159 CAR inhabitants chosen to delve on “knowledge on climate change,” 108 persons or 45 per cent had ratings of “low” to “very low” knowledge on climate change while on the other hand, 51 individuals (21.3 per cent) were ranked having “high” to “very high” knowledge on climate change.
Respondent, nationwide, were also asked about the links between climate change and their experience with disasters. Surprisingly, the highest levels of awareness were noted by the research as coming from CARAGA, at 23.8 per cent and for CAR, 21.3 per cent.
Bothe CARAGA and CAR have nearly double the national average of 12.2 per cent “for feeling a lot or extremely informed about climate change.”
In the conduct of the study, the researchers took in the fact that the Philippines is disproportionally impacted by climate change, being subject to sea level rise, typhoons, frequent flooding and drought.
In the case of CAR, the inhabitants’ knowledge on climate change and its anticipated impact on their own households can be important information for professionals and those in government concerned with climate change policy, education and training, the research hinted.
“The link between these perceptions and the steps people take to prepare for future disasters is also an important source of information for developing future education and training programs and for advocacy on climate policy,” the research stated.
The study, nationwide, has at least been able to identify unique trends that discuss climate change awareness and preparedness levels among Filipinos. These are:
First, there are variations in the Philippines both nationally and regionally regarding people’s knowledge about climate change and climate change awareness. Specifically, majority, or 59.9 per cent at national “had either not heard or did not feel well informed about climate change.”
At the regional level, like in CAR, it varied widely.
In all, most of those involved in the study tended to focus in their specific regions, as opposed to the whole country.
In CAR, for example, the research noted direct experience with disasters in the past years and the respondents’ level of education play important factors that increase significantly the odds that they engage in disaster preparedness activities and make material investment in disaster preparedness.
Third, there seems to be a relationship between length of residence and disaster preparedness. It was found that length of residence (particularly those who have no houses in said community and just rent) is correlated with lower rate of participation in training and planning activities.
Such is true in all regions and the research pointed out this is unclear why this might be. However, one possible explanation could be that those residents in a community tend to deal more with natural hazards in their own places those non-residents.
Fourth, health status plays a key role in perception on climate change. People with poor health are less likely to engage in disaster preparedness.
In CAR, the single and strongest predictor of engagement in general preparedness activities and training was membership in an association, the reason why when regional line agencies call for trainings, they usually invite all civil society organizations in the highland region.
The research concluded that while climate change perception may pose for regional CAR officials and policy makers differing challenges requiring different responses, adaptation to climate change and disaster preparedness are “inherently associated and potentially, mutually reinforcing.”
Enhancing adaptive capacity in CAR is important to safeguard existing and future development progress in the light of current climate variability and reduce vulnerability to extreme weather events.