Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace
29 March 2016

President Benigno S. Aquino III challenged the 148 graduates of the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) to use the new knowledge they gained to contribute to the country’s preparedness in terms of disaster risk reduction and relief operations in order to accelerate the nation’s progress.

Highlighting the three major disasters that struck the Philippines in 2013, President Aquino reiterated how the government responded and handled the catastrophes that affected millions of Filipinos, such as the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban. According to the President, what the country has achieved in the immediate aftermath of the typhoon was remarkable and a lesson for the global community.

He affirmed this by quoting Motoo Konishi, World Bank Country Director for the Philippines at the time of the disaster, wherein he stated, “our response to Yolanda set a new record on how to shrink the time between the disaster hitting, relief work being carried out, moving on to early recovery, and then to reconstruction.”

With this, President Aquino encouraged the new DAP graduates to work closely with the government in ensuring the goal of Build Back Better at the soonest, and at the same time, filling up the general lack of individuals with the rightful knowledge in addressing such issues.

“You will be able to make a massive difference in the lives of your fellow Filipinos. Your task, on the local level, is to manage all possible concerns, whether it’s ensuring the safety of the people, addressing their issues on relocation, or planning the construction of infrastructure based on scientific evidence,” President Aquino said.

Likewise, he reminded the graduates to always work with vigor and passion throughout their career in public service for this will lead to a more organized and peaceful nation building.

“My hope is that, in the most challenging situations, you can look back to your time at the Development Academy of the Philippines, and gather strength from the knowledge that you are not alone, that your batchmates, along with so many like-minded Filipinos, are working in pursuit of our collective progress, and that together, we will prevail,” the President hoped.

*  *  *