In line with its commitment to a holistic disaster resilience framework, Ayala Foundation (AFI) led a two-day upskilling seminar for disaster responders in Cabadbaran and Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.
Falling under the prevention and mitigation pillar of the foundation’s disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) framework, the Maging Handa seminar aims to equip participants with additional skills which they can bring back to their communities.
More than 150 participants, representing local schools, government units and emergency services in ten municipalities and one city, joined the sessions held on July 27 and 28.
The AFI team, headed by Corporate Resources Senior Director Andrian Villanueva and Corporate Communications Senior Director Celerina Amores, was given a warm welcome by local officials led by Agusan del Norte Governor Angel Amante, Cabadbaran Mayor Judy C. Amante, and Nasipit Mayor Roscoe Democrito Plaza.
“In DRRM, the crucial part of being proactive is our ability to put a premium on prevention and mitigation and preparedness capacity-building activities. As a DRRM worker, you know you are successful when you never reach the response phase,” said Jorge Vincent Pagaran, Provincial DRRM Training Chief during the opening of the seminar.
At the People’s Government Center in the capital, a jam-packed day of lectures began with Wilderness Search and Rescue Philippines consultant Vicente Lagunday underscoring the importance of disaster preparedness, response, and monitoring. He was followed by mountaineer Carina Dayondon who shared lessons on determination, resilience, and survival, drawing on her experience as the first Filipino woman to reach the highest mountain on every continent.
In the afternoon, psychologist and guidance counselor Kristina Alfonso reminded participants that children should be the focus of DRRM efforts as she discussed psychosocial interventions in disaster situations. Capping off the day was AFI’s communications head Amores, who emphasized the value of accurate reporting and documentation on the ground.
To close out the learning sessions, participants spent day two in Nasipit undergoing drills to simulate floods, storm surges, and landslides in a barangay setting.
In the coming months, the foundation will bring its capacity-building trainings to Cagayan de Oro; Borongan, Eastern Samar; and the Ilocos region.
For decades, Ayala Foundation has implemented disaster resilience initiatives together with local government and private sector partners. Hewing close to the recommendations of the Philippine Development Plan (2023–2028) and the internationally recognized Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Ayala Foundation’s DRRM program is guided by a framework that covers Prevention and Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Rehabilitation and Recovery (Building Back Better).