US Ambassador pledges additional P17.6 million
The announcement on additional US support for the disaster preparedness program in the Cordilleras highlighted US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr.’s visit to Baguio to host the traditional US Independence Day celebration at his official residence.
Ambassador Thomas announced an additional support of P17.6 million ($420,000) to the provincial government and six municipal disaster management offices in Benguet province during a ceremony on July 11 at the capitol building in La Trinidad. The amount represents the launching of the third phase of the Disaster Preparedness and Response/Climate Change Adaptation (DPR/CCA) Program by the US government through the US Agency for International Development (Usaid) in Benguet.
The program is being implemented in partnership with the World Food Program (WFP) in close coordination with various departments of the Philippine government. The first two phases of the program focused on activities including tree planting, development of early warning systems, and preparation of disaster contingency plans for each municipality to help communities to prepare for, and respond to natural disasters.
While in Benguet, Ambassador Thomas and Usaid Philippines Director Gloria Steele viewed the website of the newly inaugurated Knowledge Training and Resource Center (KTRC) located at the University of the Philippines Baguio. The US-supported center is designed to help train communities and give information that will help them better prepare for calamities. He also opened an exhibit that featured activities helping communities to deal with the impact of natural disasters.
He said, “Through this exhibit, we . . . hope to teach the younger people the value of protecting the environment and the importance of working together to find solutions to common problems.”
Early that day, Ambassador Thomas met with the new Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Superintendent, Vice Admiral Edgar Abogado and participated in a friendly sit-up/push-up competition with some of the PMA cadets.
Ambassador Thomas also turned over library materials to Ambiong Elementary School in Benguet as part of the book caravan initiated by the US-sponsored American Corner at St. Louis University.
He also met with Baguio city government officials and representatives of nongovernmental organization Save Our Women.