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PRA, Tacloban forge deal to implement DRR master plan

TACLOBAN CITY—The Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and the Tacloban City government will implement a pilot program of shoreline pond and mangrove reforestation that will mitigate possible storm surges in the future.

The program, dubbed “One Resilient Team: Tacloban”, will be funded through a seed grant of $135,275 from Global Resilience Partnership won by PRA and private group One Architecture and Urbanism. It will be initiated at barangays Nula-Tula and New Kawayan in the city.

PRA and One Architecture and Urbanism, an award-winning Amsterdam and New York-based design and planning firm, teamed up and won the highly competitive Global Resilience Water Window Challenge.

The challenge is a competitive process aiming to promote water resilience by developing and testing novel solutions in a local setting.

PRA General Manager and CEO Janilo E. Rubiato and Mayor Cristina Gonzalez-Romualdez signed a memorandum of agreement on August 8 to pave the way for the much-needed implementation of the Tacloban Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) master plan.

Rubiato said the program will do a 15-hectare mangrove reforestation in barangays Nula-Tula and New Kawayan.

The two barangays were selected through consultations with different local and national government agencies and upon the recommendation of the project consultant, Foundation Wetlands International.

As part of the “prevention” component of the Tacloban DRR master plan, the pilot program intends to minimize the probability of flooding through the use of hard- and soft-engineering interventions. In this case, pond restoration and mangrove planting will be used as soft engineering interventions.

The implementation of the program will involve a series of trainings and will be executed by local participants in coordination with local organizations and the Tacloban City. The program will leverage on the community’s on-the-ground knowledge and will focus efforts where impacts will be greatest. At the end of the program, local flood resilience and strengthened natural ecosystem functions are expected.

Other components of the Tacloban DRR master plan are spatial planning and emergency management. They aim to minimize damage and casualties and to integrate public awareness and early warning systems, respectively. These components were adopted in the Tacloban City Comprehensive Land Use Plan and are currently being implemented.

The master plan is a product of a Dutch government-funded study requested by PRA and conducted by Dutch water experts. PRA, Tacloban and its residents are involved in the crafting of the study.

This initiative aims to be a pilot project as well for similar restorations and soft-infrastructure implementations in other flooding and storm-surge vulnerable areas of the country. The signing would be one of a series of activities in the city to launch the Asean’s 50th anniversary.

 

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