WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nine Philippine government officials are in Washington D.C. for the U.S. State Department’s international disaster risk management leadership program, a visit aimed at promoting greater Philippines-U.S. cooperation on disaster risk reduction issues.
The participants in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) on disaster risk management (DRM), are from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of National Defense, Philippine National Police, Department of Foreign Affairs, and the city governments of Pasay, Pasig and Tacloban.
The visiting officials are meeting with U.S. government and non-government officials to exchange best practices on DRM. The program started August 30 and will end on September 19. It takes the Filipino officials to interactive sessions with their American counterparts in the capital and five other U.S. cities.
Leading the group is Philippine Navy Captain Roy Vincent Trinidad, recipient of the 2015 Aquino Fellowship Award for Public Service. Currently serving as Chief of Staff of Naval Forces Western Mindanao in Zamboanga City, Capt.Trinidad is widely recognized for his effective leadership as commander in charge of coordinating the civil-military relief operations in Tacloban Airport following the November 2013 onslaught of Typhoon Haiyan.
Also part of the group is Pasay City Administrator Dennis Bernard Acorda. Atty. Acorda earned praises for the timely establishment of a “Tent City” in Manila for refugees from Samar and Leyte displaced by Typhoon Haiyan. The operation involved the effective mobilization of both public and private resources to meet the needs of more than 500 displaced persons.
The other IVLP participants are Pasig City DRM Officer Ritche Van Angeles, Atty. Lila Czarina Aquitania of the Office of the Congressional Representative of the First District of Leyte, Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Hernandez of the Philippine Marines, Major Teresita Gangan of the Philippine Army, Chief of Police Jhoanna Rosales of the Philippine National Police, Civil Defense Officer Lenie Alegre of the Office of Civil Defense and Val Roque of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The officials are attending the inaugural IVLP disaster risk management program, which is framed by the challenges of climate change. “I am confident that our two countries have much to share with each other, with the end view towards safeguarding lives in the event of natural calamities,” Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said in a meeting with the group on September 3.
Now on its 75th year, the IVLP is a U.S. State Department program launched in 1940 to promote mutual understanding between the United States and other countries. Filipino participants to the IVLP are selected by the United States Embassy officials in Manila and can come from government and non-government sectors. IVLP alumni include many senior leaders who have served or are serving the Philippines in various capacities.