“In a municipality that is prone to disasters, we have to keep abreast with the new technologies that are adaptable, practical and are cost effective. Indeed, energy is not included in our clusters of responses during disasters and emergencies; today’s event gave us the required knowledge how important it is for the energy cluster to be included before, during and after disasters.”

Thus spoke Salcedo Mayor Melchor Mergal in the TekPak Orientation and Turnover event under Oxfam’s and Plan International’s B-READY Project held last April 19, 2021 at Salcedo, Eastern Samar a day after Typhoon Bising (Surigae) brought rains and strong winds to Eastern Visayas.

About 30 representatives from 5 high risk barangays and the Salcedo MDRRMO were trained by ICSC Innovations Officer Glinly Alvero on proper use and maintenance of solar TekPaks in providing lighting to critical community facilities and powering laptops, satellite phones, handheld radios and mobile phones in times of disasters and blackouts.

ICSC Community Outreach Officer Orland Quesada also stressed the key tasks in giving official home to renewable energy (RE) in disaster risk reduction (DRR): formally recognize RE as a priority in the DRR system, comprehensive plans, contingency plans and protocols; recruit, hire and train dedicated renewable energy specialists as part of local and national DRR machineries; allocate dedicated budget and resources for sustainable energy solutions and technologies for DRR.

In response, Mayor Mergal said, “We commit that in the coming updating of our contingency plans it (renewable energy) will be integrated. With the changing climate as a result of wanton use of conventional energy, there would be more disasters and our sustainable goals will not be attained.”

“The continued efforts of ICSC in educating people is commendable and will somehow help us become resilient and help us sustain what we have gained”, he further added.

As of February 2021, ICSC has organized and trained 320 Solar Scholars and 33 RE-Serve Corps volunteers – majority of whom are women – from 9 provinces in the country. Equipped with TekPaks and Mission solar generators, they responded to Typhoon Mangkhut in Cagayan in 2018, Typhoon Ursula in the small islands of Guiuan in 2019 and Typhoon Ulysses in Dumagat-Remontado communities in upland Tanay, Rizal in January 2021 — providing RE to emergency responders, affected communities and LGUs.

Photos by Genesis Celestial /Salcedo LGU