Church takes on bigger disaster readiness role
SAN PEDRO CITY — Catholic priests in Laguna province would soon include disaster preparedness as part of their homilies as the Church steps up its role in raising community awareness in times of disaster.
The Diocese of San Pablo in Laguna, composed of 87 parishes, would also organize its several disaster risk resilience teams to train and serve as the point persons in their respective communities.
In May, the Vatican called for a “change of mentality and of lifestyle” in response to the growing global campaign for disaster prevention and resilience.
“We realized there is a need to train and help people organize themselves in times of disaster. The church has to be active in this but we are not yet ready in terms of skills and equipment,” said diocese Vicar General Msgr. Jerry Bitoon.
The Philippines ranked fourth among the countries hit by the highest number of disasters over the last 20 years and the fifth most vulnerable to disaster, according to the 2015 report by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Rommel Palacol, the disaster risk reduction and management officer in Laguna, said the government had welcomed the Church’s initiative, considering its wide reach to people. In Laguna alone, 2.8 million residents, out of the province’s 3.3 million population, are Catholic.
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