Breaking barriers and building resilience – the Women International Network on Disaster Risk Reduction Philippines Chapter launch

Launch of WINDRR-PH - group photo

In a significant stride towards promoting women's leadership in disaster risk reduction (DRR), the Women International Network on Disaster Risk Reduction Philippines Chapter (WINDRR PH) was officially launched on April 26, 2023. The momentous event took place at Directors Club 2 in Mall of Asia, Pasay City, Philippines, and garnered local and international support.

The inauguration of WINDRR PH was graced by prominent figures dedicated to environmental conservation and disaster risk reduction. Senator Loren Legarda, a staunch environmentalist, and the Philippine Senate President Pro Tempore delivered the Keynote Address. Legarda, a global advocate for disaster risk reduction, emphasized her commitment to taking concrete actions to promote  resilience and translating policies into impactful measures that improve lives.

Strengthening community engagement

A special address was given by Mami Mizutori, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction (SRSG) and the Head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). SRSG Mizutori commended the organizing committee for successfully launching WINDRR PH and acknowledged the leadership and support of Hans Sy, an influential figure from SM Prime for his efforts toward disaster risk reduction and critical role as Co-Chair of ARISE Philippines. 

Mizutori also highlighted the importance of the public-private partnership model in strengthening community engagement to ensure that no one is left behind, particularly women who often bear a disproportionate burden during disasters.

Senator Legarda expressed her delight at being a part of the launching of WINDRR PH and being chosen as one of its founding members. She commended the network's efforts to convene women leaders in disaster risk reduction in the Philippines, recognizing the power of WINDRR PH as a platform to deliver greater impact. Legarda emphasized the importance of empowering women to build disaster-resilient families, homes, communities, and livelihoods, thereby addressing vulnerabilities and inequalities. 

Furthermore, she stressed the need for gender-sensitive approaches in designing and implementing DRR and management programs to ensure that the valuable contributions of women in disaster resilience are duly recognized.

Recognizing and awarding best practices

Following her Keynote Address, Senator Legarda engaged in discussions with WINDRR PH members about the significance of recognizing and awarding the best practices in climate change and DRR, especially for those working on the frontlines who often go unnoticed.

The event also featured informative panel discussions, including "Women's Leadership in DRR and Resilience Building," which provided valuable insights from a diverse panel comprising industry experts and leaders such as Rosemarie Rafael, Sandy Montano, Belinda Ochave, and Prof. Emma Porio. Another panel discussion titled "WINDRR PH: Stories in the Frontline" highlighted the experiences of core members of WINDRR PH, including Atty. Violeta Seva, Dr. Marqueza Reyes, Ms. Minet Jerusalem, Dr. Angela Zafra, and Ms. Joanna Laddaran.

Empowered women leaders

The launch of WINDRR PH witnessed the presence of numerous empowered women leaders, including Dr. Ma. Teresita "Tata" Pastor-Medado, President of Asia Pacific College and WINDRR PH Convenor, and Engr. Liza Silerio, Vice President of SM Supermalls and ARISE Global Board Member. Other distinguished individuals in attendance were  Atty. Rachel Herrera, Climate Change Commissioner, and Atty. Pearly Joan Turley, Director of SM CARES for Women Program. 

The event also featured heartfelt messages from notable figures such as Mayor Abby Binay of Makati City, Adelina Kamal and Dr. Rama Hanifa of Indonesia, and Dr. Homolata Borah of India. 

With 33 women leaders registering to become members of the network, the event proved a great success.

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