Sometimes it takes something negative for something positive to happen. Ondoy came and went in September 2009, leaving a ravaged Metro Manila in its wake. Out of the mud-soaked rubble though, arose a greater sense of urgency and responsibility in those areas and cities most heavily affected, particularly the actual local governments. This eventually served as the foundation for the Alliance of 7 or A7, a partnership of the seven local government units (LGU’s) of the cities of Marikina, Antipolo, Pasig, Quezon City, and the municipalities of Rodriguez, Cainta and San Mateo, all from the province of Rizal, respectively. All these places are located right near the Marikina Watershed, and is primarily concerned with the improvement of existing DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction) programs and policies, and ecosystem protection, focused on the Marikina Watershed Protected Area.
This was to be the primary focus of our work with the La Liga Policy Institute, who helped establish this partnership. When our coordinator first explained what we were working with and what we would focus on, it really hit home, having already lived in 3 of the 7 municpalities/cities in the alliance. I already have particular experiences in these places that I know would help contribute to our work, so I was very glad we were granted the opportunity to work on them. An alliance like this shows cooperation and collective action amidst past calamities and the expectation of future ones, which has actually made some progress in the realm of disaster management. Other local government units can take a page from what they’re doing and put disaster risk reduction as one of their primary concerns. In a political culture like ours, a partnership of this magnitude would almost certainly fall into miscommunication and bureaucratic red tape, but so far, the partnership has been going very well. The rest of the nation could emulate productive partnerships such as these.
In communities, collective action is always the key, and that is what A7 is showing so far.
Josh Siat 2012-61056