GENEVA - Officials of the Philippine Government and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) met last week at the sidelines of the Humanitarian Networks and Partnership Week (HNPW) in Geneva in order to discuss ways and means to further strengthen humanitarian response coordination efforts and engagement.

Undersecretary Ricardo B. Jalad, Administrator of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and Executive Director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), led Philippine officials in the meeting with Mr. Rudolf Muller, Director of OCHA Geneva and Chief of OCHA-Geneva's Emergency Services Section (ESB) and other OCHA officials.

During the meeting, Director Muller thanked the Philippine Government for the good working relationship it has continued to maintain with UN OCHA. He also extended OCHA's support to the Philippines on areas where it would like OCHA's assistance.

Undersecretary Jalad likewise expressed his appreciation for OCHA's assistance to the Philippines, especially in times of disasters. He mentioned that there is interest from local government units (LGUs) to develop their capacity for search and rescue (SAR) and that they have been encouraging the local communities to invest more in their capability to do SAR.

Both sides also exchanged views on how to realize possible capacity-building trainings and workshops for Philippine government personnel dealing with humanitarian response and ways on how to address gaps in humanitarian response.

OCHA established its presence in Manila in 2007 to complement the Philippine government's response to natural disasters and to strengthen humanitarian coordination. Its Philippine presence was upgraded to a country office in 2010, focusing on two areas: (1) emergency response preparedness and (2) response to sudden onset emergencies and the protracted conflict situation in Mindanao. END

Source: Republic of Philippines Department Of Foreign Affairs