I am Atty Melchor Mergal, the Municipal Mayor of Salcedo Eastern Samar in the Philippines, proudly announce the official launching of our 1st ever Salcedo Website, our version of Actionable Intelligence Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.

For our friends watching online, the Municipality of Salcedo, Eastern Samar is 5th Class Municipality with a Total Population: 22, 835. We have 41 barangays and 2 of which are island communities. We have 5,001 total number of households and we are 137 kms. from Tacloban City, the Regional Capital and 92 kms from Borongan City, the Provincial Capital. People in our municipality are farmers and fishers and we are frequently visited by Typhoons and other hydro meteorological hazards. Just last year 2019, we were hit by two big typhon in 1 year and even made landfall to our municipality on Christmas eve.

Building on the aspiration that we will maximize use of ICT for Development, our website shall provide information and stories of Salcedo on how we plan, prepare and response to disasters that will continue to haunt us, sad reality. However technological innovations provide unprecedented opportunities to build and develop our resilience, people of Salcedo will be more prepared in responding to disaster and mitigating risks. We hope that this website not only introduce our municipality of Salcedo to the world but most importantly, we can share information for our partners and citizens access to better information to make more informed decisions.

By this website, Municipality of Salcedo should be at the fingertips of every Salcedonhons wherever they maybe. In this modern world, and with the demands to be updated with the information of their hometown, this website will somehow satisfy their curiosity, their homesickness, and for relevant information they want. Especially now, citizens are more likely to look on government services online. On the other hand opportunities will also be at Salcedo’s grasp.

Not only that, our website is a manifestation of our continued support of our government in nation building. That for every good things that are happening in Salcedo, we contributed to the realization of our government’s efforts for transparency, accountability and citizen participation-the Salcedo’s foundation for its core governance pillars. One of the DILG’s mandate of all LGU’s is the creation of functional website where it will be the repository of data, activities, and posting requirements. It will be a self-service customer support of LGU Salcedo. How we wish this will morphed into a platform where LGU transactions can be accessed and delivered through this website.

More importantly, our website is part of my aspiration as leader of the people in Salcedo. We are in one with oxfam’s advocacy to bring data-driven innovations and intelligence into our projects and into the hands of citizens. We leverage data and technology to enable smarter, faster decision-making. Our data analytics services generate new insights for our programs by connecting and analyzing different data flows both within our projects and from external sources. We seek new ways to use data to directly empower citizens.

I want to thank Oxfam Philippines, Oxfam America through project APLIFT, Oxfam Novib for your technical and funding support for this project to come into reality. More appreciation is also due to our ALERT partners, Visayas State University through the Regional Climate Change, Research and Development Center, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement and Center for Disaster Preparedness for collaborating with us and guide us to complete the content of the website. To our technical consultant, thank you.

I cannot thank enough Raymond Campo, Linus Allan Deguito, Jon Mikael Garcia, and Ricky Capara, our Technical Working Group for religiously working on the contents. We have a lot more to work for.

Indeed, partnership is very important. We are a fifth class Municipality and we cannot afford to have this website because of many priorities. But our partners here are doing their best to help not only as humanitarian responders in every disaster but becoming partners in all development goals of the Municipality. I know that OXFAM will not be there forever to help us. But you are our hope in bringing us to our preferred reality where people are empowered and happy even in the most trying times of our lives. I also hope that Oxfam and other partners will continue investing on leadership and make leaders accountable for the future generations. The partnership of Oxfam and my Municipality of Salcedo is the best example of a local leader helping humanitarian efforts towards human empowerment, and dignity. To sum it all, its about Local Humanitarian Leadership. We commit to sustain this legacy.

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