Speech by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the Handa Pilipinas Visayas Leg

Event 2023 Handa Pilipinas Visayas Leg Opening Ceremony
Location Summit Hotel in Tacloban City

Thank you for your kind introduction, Speaker Martin Romualdez. [Please take your seats.]

Our Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos; DOST Secretary, Secretary Renato Solidum Jr.; the Province of Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla; Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez; my fellow workers in government; Secretary Anton Lagdameo; other distinguished guests; our other governors who are also here today and the congressmen who have joined us today, good afternoon.

Today, we launch the Visayas Leg of HANDA Pilipinas to showcase the various disaster risk reduction and management initiatives of the government.

This is done in collaboration with many stakeholders and partners since Super Typhoon Yolanda struck the country. And beyond that, also I see some technologies that have been developed during the COVID pandemic that hit the whole world in the recent years.

But putting our experience at the heart of this event reminds us of the calamity that brought unimaginable destruction to the Visayas, to the Philippines.

It serves as a poignant reminder of the power of nature and our vulnerability to that power.

More importantly, it underscores the importance of disaster risk reduction and management in the Philippines.

The Filipino spirit is incredible. It has been demonstrated during and in the aftermath of Yolanda and of COVID.

Our ability to come together, to support one another, [and] to rebuild during such adversity is always an inspiration.

We therefore owe it to ourselves and to the future – to learn from this experience and make sure that such devastation will be mitigated or somehow prevented because we are now better prepared and we are now better adapted to the vagaries of very severe weather events.

The government remains committed to advancing our country’s disaster resilience, and of course we must recognize the role of the Department of Science and Technology in this undertaking.

The DOST has been instrumental in developing cutting-edge technologies for disaster risk prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

I am confident that the technologies featured in this event such as the mobile command post, the triaging trailer tent, the collapsible toilet bowl, upgraded emergency disinfection system, fire blanket, unsinkable portaboat and water ambulance, amongst others—will be of great help during relief and rescue operations.

The emergency food reserve as well as the complementary food and food products are also good additions to our survival kits during calamities.

So, let us also remember that collaboration amongst government agencies, local governments, and the private sector, and communities is the key to effective and successful disaster risk reduction and management.

I was just having a quick discussion with Secretary Solidum and we were talking about — this is the product of some very important research and development.

And however, as the Mayor has pointed out and the Governor has pointed out… Well, first of all, we wish we had all of these 10 years ago when after Yolanda struck.

But now, we have them here and kung titingnan natin ang mga teknolohiya na dala ng DOST ngayon na na-develop ng ating mga siyentipiko ay talagang bagay na bagay para sa LGU.

They are in a small scale and they are directed for – up to the… I can see some of these hanggang barangay health kit puwede ‘yang ipasok.

Kaya’t sa akin, ang sinasabi ko kay Secretary Solidum, ang sinasabi ko sa kanya dapat magpatulong tayo sa private sector dahil madali namang ipaliwanag na may ready market ang LGU, may ready market ang lahat ng mga produktong ito para sa ating mga LGU.

Kaya’t kailangan ipagpatuloy natin ang pag-develop. Hindi na ‘yung teknolohiya kung hindi ang pagpababa ng presyo ng ating mga produkto at pagparami para maging available sa lahat ng ating mga LGU para naman magamit pantulong sa tao kapag may pangangailangan.

So, I implore everyone to maximize the use of these technologies [and] to fast-track the widespread adoption and commercialization.

Let us also promote public awareness so that every citizen becomes more proactive, better informed, [and] better equipped in times of an emergency.

Let us ensure that science and innovation continues to guide us in our endeavors.

These are crucial to addressing the challenges in disaster risk reduction and staying ahead of the curve in disaster management.

The world is rapidly changing.  It is imperative that our ways and our strategies adapt and improve as well.

So, my fellow Filipinos, let us remember the lessons of the past, not with despair, but with the determination to learn and to change for the better, to be better prepared, to be better able to help our people.

Let us all unite and channel all our energies into building a safer, stronger, [and] more resilient Philippines for ourselves and for future generations.

Sa Bagong Pilipinas na ating isinusulong, ang bawat Pilipino ay laging handa sa pagharap sa mga hamon ng buhay at sa pagtulong sa iba pang mga nangangailangan.

Maraming, maraming salamat sa inyo at mabuhay po tayong lahat! Congratulations dito sa ating magandang naging teknolohiya na ibibigay sa ating mga LGU. Maraming-maraming salamat at magandang tanghali po sa inyo. [applause]


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