KIDAPAWAN CITY – Twelve (12) Action Against Hunger staff members were left stranded after a landslide had blocked a part of Mt. Apo Highway last July 16, 2021. The incident was reported to have occurred sometime in the morning after a series of heavy rainfall in the area.
No casualties were reported and the staff members managed to safely go over the landslide area before the Kidapawan City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) rescue vehicle arrived and assisted them back to the city proper. The staff members who experienced the ordeal were part of the MOVE UP 4 Project team in Kidapawan and visiting staff from Action Against Hunger Philippines’ Manila Head Office.
The teams were already on their way back in two separate vehicles after conducting field visits in Barangay Illomavis when they reached the roadblock caused by the landslide. Being the first to witness the scene and having no alternate routes going to the city proper, the stranded staff decided to go over the mound of debris by foot.
“[The situation] gave us an opportunity to reflect about humanitarian workers, that we are dispensable,” shared MOVE UP 4 Consortium Manager and Head of Project Roger Cabiles. Despite facing a predicament, the team remained calm and quickly followed emergency protocol. “Being careful is really important as well as assessing risks and hazards and knowing what to do if a disaster happens,” he added. Deputy Head of Project Lyndon Arbes then coordinated with Kidapawan CDRRMO Head Psalmer Bernalte, who facilitated the quick rescue response.
“[The situation] gave us an opportunity to reflect about humanitarian workers, that we are dispensable…Being careful is really important as well as assessing risks and hazards and knowing what to do if a disaster happens,” he added.
Clearing operations on the highway began immediately thereafter. According to Psalmer Bernalte, soil movements have gradually been covering portions of the highway two months earlier, prompting the city to conduct preventive measures against potential landslides.
For the MOVE UP 4 team, the experience further strengthened their commitment to work with partner LGUs and communities through disaster risk reduction, emergency response, and resilience building.
“These risks and hazards are normal to the communities we serve, and they experience it in their everyday lives… our work in building the resilience of our communities continues,” said Roger Cabiles.
Moving Urban Poor Communities Toward Resilience (MOVE UP 4) is funded by the EU Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid – ECHO and implemented by Action Against Hunger Philippines, Plan International Philippines, CARE Philippines and its local partner ACCORD Incorporated.
We recognize gender inequality as both a cause and effect of hunger. Until now, there are communities where women have less access and control over resources while also having limited participation or representation in decision-making, therefore putting them at risk.
This is why one key strategy of our USAID-funded Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Project in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is empowering these women to strengthen their barangay’s resilience through community savings groups (CSG). The main goal of CSGs is to encourage and create a saving culture in the community while offering a unique financial opportunity for participating households.
Last month, 30 women from Barangay Gawang of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao participated in the Community Savings Group Orientation held by Action Against Hunger on June 16, 2021. Because CSGs provide a level of financial security even without any access to formal banking services, all women gave their commitment to creating a savings group for the barangay. Once established, the collective savings can offer a safety net for the members’ households in times of disasters and other emergency situations.
A community savings group (CSG) is a community-based program where a group of vulnerable and at-risk persons in a community agrees to save a certain amount periodically and depositing the savings in a group account. Savings groups are a way for people without access to formal banking services to access some financial security. Savings groups are owned, managed, and operated by the members, using a simple, transparent method where groups accumulate and convert small amounts of cash into savings that can be used in times of crisis. This way, economic security is increased and financial services are brought closer to communities for promoting secure investment with savings.
The group can further decide to focus on savings or invest in personal or collective livelihood activities to improve household income. In most cases, the group also engages in giving loans. Moreover, not only does the CSG provide potentially better financial opportunities for families but also empowers the participants—in this case, the women of Barangay Gawang—as they engage in financial planning, decision-making, and active community involvement.
‘Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Areas at High Risk of Natural Hazards in BARMM, Mindanao’ is a disaster risk reduction (DRR) project funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA) and implemented by Action Against Hunger Philippines with the support of local government units and partner stakeholders.