Vice Mayor of San Francisco
Al Arquillano is Vice Mayor of San Francisco, Cebu Province, Philippines. Under his leadership, San Francisco won the UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2011 for its community empowerment programme to boost the resilience of a mostly poor population living below the poverty line. The city's resilience hinges on the Purok system, which is an indigenous method of self-organization at the sub-village level. Under the Purok "Capital Build Up" programme, the community deposits an amount agreed on by residents as initial capital for emergency purposes, which increases fluid assets of the Puroks to use as a post-disaster assistance fund. In addition to this safety net, Mr. Arquillano implemented a system of solid waste management that contributes to better sanitation and drainage, which considerably reduces the risk of floods caused by clogged waterways. It is now touted as a national best practice example and is also being shared with cities in other nations, such as Bangladesh. In May, Mr. Arquillano will attend the 3rd Resilient Cities Congress in Bonn, Germany, where he plans to spread the word about the Making Cities Resilient campaign and how it has helped changed the behaviour of everyday people around risk.
Under his leadership, the city constructed a flood control dam in a particularly flood-prone barangay. Manual and digital rain gauges were installed that are serving as early warning device supported by Plan International Philippines.
Vice Mayor Arquillano is dedicated to spreading information about the ten-point check list for making cities resilient, but it is his work in empowering local communities in reducing disaster risks and adapting to climate change is being recognized through the championship.
- October 2010, Incheon, Korea - Participated in the 4th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.
- January 2011, Camotes Islands, Philippines - Engaged and organized mayors from the Camotes Island to join the Making Cities Campaign.
- May 2011, Geneva, Switzerland - 2011 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction: Presentation on San Francisco's Purok System for building community resilience, in conjunction with the city's application for the 2011 Sasakawa Award.
- July 2011, Colombo, Sri Lanka - Exchanging experiences with Sri Lankan cities seeking to produce a joint action plan to tackle hazard risk.
- August 2011, San Francisco, Cebu, Philippines - Hosted a study visit of Sri Lanka mayors to demonstrate how the Purok System is used to building community resilience.
- November 2011, San Francisco, Cebu, Philippines - Hosted a study visit of mayors from Thailand and Viet Nam and other cities in the Philippines to demonstrate resilience-building tactics in San Francisco, Cebu.
- December 2011, Durban, South Africa - Took part in a UNISDR session at the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban.
- January 2012, Iligan and Cayagan de Oro, Philippines - Accompanied the UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction Margareta Wahlstrom on her visit to region affected by Typhoon Sendong