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PIA Press Release
2008/08/06

St. Bernard town receives Presidential Gawad Kalasag award

By Rebecca Cadavos

Southern Leyte (6 August) -- For more than a year managing the disaster preparedness program, the municipality of St. Bernard town received the Gawad Kalasag Award last August 2, 2008 at Malacanang from no less than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

St. Bernard Mayor Rico C. Rentuza who received the award told in a phone interview that the town got the Best Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council (MDCC) for the 4th to 6th class municipality category. A plaque and a P50,000 cash prize was given to the local government unit, Mayor Rentuza disclosed.

The criteria for the search, according to the neophyte mayor was how they organized the disaster preparedness program, the disaster response, disaster rehabilitation, and the early warning system. The town was observed to have the best disaster contingency plan and disaster risk reduction management, the source said.

The disaster mitigating program started when Brgy. Guinsaugon in St. Bernard experienced the massive landslide that affected a thousand residents way back February 17, 2006, the mayor recalled.

By then, St. Bernard MDCC was reactivated, conducted series of trainings on disaster preparedness and mitigation supported by the government and the different non-government organizations such as the CARE Philippines, Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), among others, Mayor Rentuza revealed.

Since 2002, the Gawad Kalasag (Kalamidad at Sakuna Labanan Sariling Galing ang Kaligtasan) has been promoting total disaster risk management among local disaster coordinating councils, and providing incentives and awards, strengthening the spirit of volunteerism and auxiliary networks among private and public emergency responders, and enhancing monitoring systems in the national and local levels, it was learned.

It's objective is to recognize outstanding performance of Disaster Coordinating Councils (DCCs) and Non Government Organizations in the implementation of disaster management programs and activities.

The local chief executive was accompanied by his better half, Myra Rentuza and St. Bernard Chief of Police Inspector Hector F. Enage, the MDCC vice chairman (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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