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Philippines

'DISASTER IMAGINATION.' Science Undersecretary Renato Solidum Jr discusses 'disaster imagination' at the Agos Summit on Disaster Preparedness. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – "If not for disaster imagination, your preparedness may not be appropriate."

This was the statement of Renato Solidum Jr, Department of Science and Technology undersecretary for disaster risk reduction and climate change, during his speech at the Agos Summit on Disaster Preparedness on Saturday, July 8.

According to Solidum, while disaster preparedness is important, people will only be convinced to prepare after they have internalized what can happen to them and their family in times of disasters.

"We need [imagination] for disaster preparedness. We need to have science-based – not only based on experience – hazard and risk scenarios for extreme events like earthquakes, super typhoons, tsunamis, storm surges, and big volcanic eruptions," he added.

But Solidum emphasized that risk imagination needs to be applied not only at the local level, but also at the regional and national levels.

Read more: Disaster imagination: 3 steps toward disaster preparedness

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POP CULTURE. Actor and YesPinoy Foundation chair Jose Sixto "Dingdong" Dantes III. All photos by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – How can we involve more people in the ongoing conversation on disaster preparedness?

This was a question raised on the first day of the Agos Summit on Disaster Preparedness on Friday, July 7.

One of the summit's speakers, Bryan McClelland, suggested that maybe it's time to incorporate climate change and disaster preparedness into pop culture.

"What if these topics can be incorporated into our telenovelas? What if real issues that we deal with are incorporated into things that people are already watching and talking about anyway?" McClelland, founder of socio-ecological enterprise Bambike, said during a panel discussion on Friday.

McClelland cited a study in Brazil that showed the effect of telenovelas on their viewers. After watching a battered female character fight back and get out of an abusive relationship, the viewers felt empowered and were able to save themselves from similar situations.

"So the power of pop culture and media is very, very strong especially here in the Philippines. So maybe we can kind of open these topics of conversation up into the platforms we're familiar with: your daytime television, your social media platforms, making maybe some of our pop culture influencers more influential for the things that actually matter."

He added, "If the media you're already consuming starts to address these issues, you're going to start to perk up and pay attention because role models in TV can also be role models in real life."

Read more: Teleseryes, social media, and other platforms for disaster preparedness

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MANILA, Philippines – "Are we just going to be victims, or can we be agents of change?"

During the first day of the Agos Summit on Disaster Preparedness on Friday, July 7advocates talked about the role of vulnerable sectors in the movement for climate action and disaster resilience.

Climate Change Commission's Rina Atienza said that while women are the most vulnerable demographic when it comes to climate change, it's also women who are leading the change in addressing the effects of climate change.

"The world is looking at us. Climate change is a global issue with local implications. Are we leaders or victims?" Atienza asked, urging also the men to "be part of this feminist solution."

Read more: What's the role of vulnerable sectors in disaster preparedness?

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