Ormoc City – Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas has called on the youth to play an active role in disaster risk reduction in the face of the worst impacts of climate change.

Roxas, vice chairman for preparedness of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) told students of Eastern Visayas State University – Ormoc campus on Monday, June 23, that as youth and students, they can help save lives by becoming responsible leaders, whether in school or in the communities where they live in.

Roxas, addressed students from the biggest state university system in the region, along with local officials of Ormoc . He was welcomed by no less than EVSU President Dominador Aguirre.

Roxas whose challenge to his audience received an enthusiastic welcome, said students need to be champions of disaster risk reduction in their household, community or towns, and be part of the solution to the problem brought about by the worst impacts of climate change.

According to Roxas, individually and collectively, student leaders can help enhance disaster preparedness of their household, as well as their community, and be ready against all forms of natural calamities.

“Don’t be victims. Be a leader. Be responsible. Be part of the solution,” he said

He said that as students, the participants can make a difference by choosing not to become passive victims of natural calamities, but responsible leaders championing disaster risk reduction.

Roxas said the impact of a devastating typhoon such as Yolanda can be avoided by preparing ahead to reduce the risk of disaster, explaining that over the years, because of climate change, the impact of typhoons have resulted in tragic loss of lives.

According to Roxas, the National Government has already put in place a comprehensive disaster prevention mechanism through Project NOAH, which stands for Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards, a project of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

His presentation centered on the new technology that can be used by local officials, students, national agencies, NGOs and anyone in order to make informed decisions about the weather and its hazards to the local community.

Project NOAH, he said, can enhance disaster preparedness plans of communities prone to natural calamities such as typhoons, landslides, flashfloods, or even storm surges.

“Nasa inyong mga kamay ang kaligtasan ninyo. Ang buhay ninyo at ng inyong kasambahay. Kayo ba ay magiging biktima o isang leader?” he asked.

To make the event merrier, he distributed emergency kits to five lucky texters who joined in answering his question on what constituted the best preparedness activities.