OpenGov Forum 2024 Brings Together Women Leaders in Disaster Risk Reduction

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In celebration of Women’s Month this 2024, 800 local government unit (LGU) officials together with representatives from the private sector, convened for the first series of this year’s Open Government and Participatory Governance Forum. Revolving around the theme, “Building Resilience through Women’s Empowerment,” 4 Mayors and a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP), shared their best practices and insights on leading climate and disaster resilience actions.

Present in the March 20, 2024 Forum held in the Skydome, SM North Edsa in Quezon City were Mayor Ma. Josefina “Joy” G. Belmonte of Quezon City; Mayor Jeannie N. Sandoval of the City of Malabon; Mayor Viandrei Nicole J. Cuevas of the City of Palayan, Nueva Ecija; Mayor Jasmin Angelli Maligaya-Bautista of the Municipality of Magallanes, Cavite; and Sangguniang Panlungsod Member Maria Luisa Angela M. de Leon-Rivera of the City of Pasig. 

Women’s Leadership in Resilience-building

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Mayor Joy Belmonte, in her presentation entitled: “Building an Inclusive and More Resilient Quezon City,” she highlighted Quezon City’s Intelligent, Resilient, and Integrated Systems for the Urban Population, or the iRISE-UP Program. Mayor Cuevas discussed Palayan City’s Cold Storage Project –  the first LGU-owned storage facility for marginalized farmers under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP). Mayor Maligaya-Bautista, on the other hand, provided an overview of the Buhay Forest Rehabilitation Program, a reforestation and eco-tourism initiative led by the Municipality of Magallanes, Cavite. Finally, Mayor Sandoval focused on Malabon City’s Disaster Resilient, Climate Change Adaptive, and Sustainable Socialized Housing Project, St. Gregory Homes.

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Councilor de Leon-Rivera for her part, talked about Pasig City’s recently launched City-wide Land Information Management and Automation System, or CLIMA, stressing its pivotal role in ensuring that their land and water use plans and their zoning ordinance are risk-informed.

Subsequently, in a panel forum moderated by Buena Bernal from Channel News Asia, the five local officials talked about women’s leadership in the context of resilience-building and shared that women’s leadership is about being responsive to the needs of the constituents, with collaborative effort, with a strong focus on representation, and breaking stereotypes.

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The participants learned from Regional Director Ruby P. Muro of DBM-NCR who spoke about Disaster Risk Reduction and Gender and Development Budgeting of LGUs. 

Also present in the program were DILG NCR Regional Director Maria Lourdes L. Agustin; Engr. Liza B. Silerio, Co-chairperson of ARISE Philippines;  Dr. Ma. Teresita Pastor-Medado, WIN DRR Philippines Lead Convenor;  PCW Deputy Director Kristine Balmes; Atty. Pearl Jayagan Turley and Richard Caluyo of SM CARES; Atty. Violeta Seva of EMI; Silvestre Barrameda Jr., Executive Director of NRC, and former Undersecretary and now SM Prime Consultant Alexander Pama. The audience likewise heard the video messages of support from Mr. Marco Toscano-Rivalta, Chief of Office, UNDRR Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, and DILG Undersecretary Marlo L. Iringan. 

The first series of this year’s OpenGov Forum, was a collaborative effort between the Department of Interior and Local Government National Capital Region (DILG), and the Women’s International Network on Disaster Risk Reduction (WIN DRR) Philippines Chapter, together with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), SM Prime Holdings, SM Cares, National Resilience Council (NRC), ARISE Philippines, Earthquake and Megacities Initiatives (EMI), Making Cities Resilient 2030, and Galing Pook Foundation. 

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