The National Economic and Development Authority highlighted the importance of disaster preparedness as it participated in the Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) on Thursday.

The NSED is part of the Bida Ang Handa campaign of the Office of Civil Defense to promote the conduct of regular exercises in time for disasters and calamities.

During the drill, NEDA Undersecretary Jose Miguel Dela Rosa stressed the need to expand programs and projects to enhance the resiliency especially of local communities.

“While much has been done, we must continue to sustain and improve on efforts related to climate change mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) to ensure the survival of Filipinos in times of calamities,” said Dela Rosa, who also chairs the NEDA DRRM Office.

He added that programs on climate change and DRRM are critical strategies in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022.

Chapter 11 of the PDP states that the conduct of information, education, and communication campaigns, as well as the mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction in local development, is an important strategy to achieve community-level resiliency.

“The OCD’s campaign resonates well with the PDP. Participating in this campaign is crucial to building awareness and the future wellbeing of the country,” Dela Rosa said.

More than 500 NEDA employees observed the duck-cover-and-hold procedure and evacuated the building in Pasig City during Thursday’s drill.

Different government agencies, civil society organizations, and private sector partners also participated in the NSED, which had its ceremonial venue in Davao City.