-UN Humanitarian Resident Gustavo Gonzalez

“You are attracting the international community to come to your province to see what you have done in disaster mitigation” said Mr. Gustavo Gonzalez, UN Resident Coordinator /Humanitarian Coordinator. All ears were on the seasoned governor as he explained the things done correctly and also admitted on some failures in their DRRM policy-making.

The courtesy call and meeting coordinated by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) yesterday Jan. 26, 2020  with the presence of the Ambassadors Anke Reiffenstuel (Germany), Pete Macarthur (Canada), Bjorn Staurset Jahnsen (Norway), Manja Vidic (OCHA), Troy Dooley (IOM and Niko manos Wieland (UNICEF).

Nearly a million people in the Philippines were evacuated from their homes Saturday (Oct 31) as the most powerful typhoon of the year so far barreled towards the country, with authorities warning of “destructive” winds and flooding. In Albay at least 500,000 were safely evacuated as Typhoon Goni (Rolly) slammed into the Bicol region (Catanduanes) on Sunday morning with 215 kmph sustained winds and gusts of up to 265 kmph, before crossing the main island of Luzon, APSEMO Dr. Cedric Daep said.

On the topic of evacuation, Ambassador Pete Macarthur of Canada, (blue coat) remembers Governor Bichara as the Philippine Ambassador for Syrian and Lebanon in the 2006 Middle East Civil War who ordered the mandatory evacuation of the Filipino workers to a free port zone in Northern Lebanon/Syria area which saved 6,000 Filipino OFWs.

Gov. Bichara thanked UN Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez for his quick response by facilitating the coordination with various humanitarian organizations under the Philippines Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), composed of locally-based UN agencies, national and international NGO networks and the private sector, working in Albay on November 8, 2020.  While the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) facilitated the conduct of needs assessment of affected population in the province.

Gov Al Francis Bichara thanked the UN visitors and Filipino counterparts who came to aid Albay during the crisis. He said “that let us together plan the recovery of the province”.

Mr. Gustavo Gonzalez, UN Resident Coordinator /Humanitarian Coordinator added that “we are here to convey your message to the national and international communities that have supported the initial post-rehabilitation and recovery of your province from the successive typhoons that hit Albay while in a pandemic situation. He ended by saying that “your province under your leadership has done extremely well!

Luis Francisco P. Bello

AFBVille Online News

Carlo Paul Perez – Photo credits

Governor’s Office, PGA