The social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) recently launched the European Union (EU) supported program called Partnership for Building Capacities in Humanitarian Action (PEACH), which aims to strengthen the Catholic Church’s capacity in responding to disasters.
The program, which will be implemented by the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines in 11 dioceses from Luzon and Visayas regions, is expected to strengthen the technical skills and competence of its church workers and volunteers in responding to emergencies and implementing disaster preparedness program.
It will boost the organization’s capacity in the field of volunteer management, and integrate the Philippine Catholic Church’s lessons and best practices from its experiences in responding to previous disasters such as Super Typhoon Yolanda together with the EU’s humanitarian aid principles.
“This is a welcome development in the humanitarian work we are doing together with the social action network of the different dioceses all over the Philippines. Through this program, we hope that we can truly improve our church workers and volunteers’ skill in emergency response especially as the Philippines is at the doorstep of disasters,” NASSA/Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez said.
Father Gariguez added that the PEACH program is in line with the Catholic Church’s national roadmap for sustainability and resiliency, which aims to build the capacity of the social action network in mainstreaming resiliency and providing humanitarian response to people affected by disasters.
This included the contingency plans and communication protocols which the Catholic Church will be observing in times of emergency.
The national roadmap was adopted last month during the 38th National Social Action General Assembly (NASAGA), which was held in Palo, Leyte last month. NASSA/Caritas Philippines will be implementing the PEACH program until March 2018.
Aside from the Philippines, it will also be implemented in five other countries namely: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal.
The program is also in partnership with Caritas Austria, Caritas Romania, Caritas Czechoslovakia and the regional office of Caritas Asia.
Aside from the PEACH program, NASSA/Caritas Philippines is also implementing the Catholic Church’s largest rehabilitation program for Typhoon Yolanda survivors in nine provinces worst-hit by the typhoon.
It is also implementing a climate change adaptation program called FARM-FIRST in eight provinces by helping farmers and fishermen adapt to changing environmental conditions for food security and environmental preservation.