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The municipality of San Francisco, which is geographically vulnerable to natural hazards as it is located in an open sea, greatly deserves the Sasakawa Award because of its innovative programs aimed at reducing disaster risks, particularly through empowering the citizens and strengthening the community.

In her speech, Senator Loren Legarda cited the town's Purok System, which focuses on addressing the vulnerability of every barangay in the municipality by mobilizing local resources in creating local and practical solutions based on the unique needs of every community.

San Francisco is the 2009 and 2010 recipient of Cebu Province's Expanded Green and Wholesome Environment that Nurtures (E-GWEN) award because of its proper implementation of solid waste management.

The municipality, with support from PLAN International, has also invested in the production of hazard maps, establishment of early warning systems, construction of drainage canals in identified flood-prone areas, information dissemination especially to students, conduct of earthquake drills, establishment of marine protected areas, organization of emergency response teams, and the two million trees project for the rehabilitation of mangrove forests.

"Disaster resilience is everybody’s business and it is essential that everyone in the community takes part in this effort. Elected leaders have a moral obligation to the people. We must lead responsibly and wisely. We have the duty to take bold steps and empower our people to participate in addressing our communities’ concerns," Legarda said.

"I am deeply inspired by the municipality of San Francisco’s pioneering initiatives on environmental protection, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. The effective leadership and governance of Mayor Aly and Vice Mayor Al will indeed stir local government action, not only in the Philippines, but also in the whole world," Legarda concluded.

"I congratulate the local government of San Francisco, Cebu for winning the 2011 UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction. This achievement brings great pride to the Philippines as it conveys thatlocal governments successfully take the lead in building the resilience of communities against disasters and climate change," said Legarda, the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific.