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Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James Purisima, Deputy Administrator of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), led the Philippine delegation, while Mr. Rudolf Müller, Director of OCHA Geneva, led OCHA’s delegation during the meeting.

Director Müller expressed its gratitude to the Philippine Government for its continued good engagement and working relationship with UN OCHA. He also extended OCHA’s support to the Philippines on areas where it would like OCHA’s assistance, including in the forthcoming INSARAG Exercise to be held in the Philippines in June this year.

Assistant Secretary Purisima also expressed the Philippine Government’s appreciation to OCHA’s unrelenting assistance to the Philippines. He mentioned that with the interest from local government units (LGUs) to develop their capacity for search and rescue (SAR), the INSARAG Exercise that is happening this year is the culmination of the hard work of the Philippine Government together with international and local partners to stage such an exercise.

Both sides explored possible areas for further cooperation and collaboration, including capacity-building trainings and workshops for Philippine government personnel dealing with humanitarian response.

OCHA’s presence was established in 2007 to complement the Philippine Government’s response to natural disasters and to strengthen humanitarian coordination. Its presence was upgraded to a country office in 2010, focusing on two areas: (1) emergency response preparedness and (2) response to sudden onset emergencies and the protracted conflict situation in Mindanao.