UPRI, NCPAG Prof calls for New Ways of Viewing Disaster Resilience

BONTOC, Mountain Province — As part of the “International Forum on Innovations for Indigenous Peoples’ Empowerment and Social Transformation.”,  UP National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) and the UP Resilience Institute’s Assistant Professor Kristoffer Berse challenged the participants’ thinking of common conceptions related to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

Held last 4-7 2018 at Teng-ab Pastoral Complex in Bontoc, Mountain Province, the event was attended by over 200 local and international participants. As one of the keynote speakers, Professor Berse talked about Rethinking Disaster Resilience in Changing Climate.

“What I will do instead is to challenge some of the things that you probably already know because unless we start questioning what we know, then we will never learn to innovate–not for empowerment, not for social transformation. We will get stuck in the status quo, and it is not a good place to be in.”

Prof. Berse encouraged the participants to continue investing in building capacity, strengthen and scale up their good practices, and to  continually innovate and build on their strengths. All of which reflects for his other point:

DRR/CCA is a way of life. It is NOT a program or project by the government or any NGO. An effective DRR/CCA requires changes in “habits of the mind”– how we consume, how we produce, how we trade, how we live, and even how we die.

He also pointed out that DRR/CCA is not enough so we all  need to push for resilience, adding that we need to accept that we will fail at some point and so we need to be able to recover fast and build back better right after.

“Effective collaborative action requires that we embrace the value of openness—the willingness and commitment to share data, to share resources, to share experiences, and to share expertise.”

He ended his presentation, by sharing three things that would help in strengthening resilience. He called them “3Ps”. They are:
1. Plan to fail. (we should never be afraid of failure, rather we should have a better foresight with the aid of the academia).

2. Plan to sell (meaning your plan should be able to garner public support).

3. Plan as one (emphasizing on the value of collaboration and openness).

 “It is one thing to resist, absorb, accommodate, and minimize damage (i.e. reduce risk), but it is another to get back on one’s feet. That, my friends, is the essence of resilience, and that’s what we should be aiming for. As the Japanese would say, ‘The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists,’” he finished. 

Dr. Berse with Dr. Rexton Chakas, MPSPC President (3rd from left); Dr. Venus Grace K. Fagyan, MPSPC Vice-President for Resource Generation and Linkages (4th from left); and Dr. Alex Brilliantes, NCPAG professor and former CHED Commissiner (2nd from right), together with the delegation from Indonesia

The International Forum on Innovations for Indigenous Peoples’ Empowerment and Social Transformation was organized by the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC), in cooperation with the Provincial Government of Mountain Province and Yayasan Global Banjar Internasional (Bali, Indonesia).

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