LGUs told: Make disaster plans operational-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Sunday, July 8, 2012
SENATOR Aquilino Pimentel III urged various local government units to make operational disaster plans by turnings theories into actions.
Pimentel, in partnership with the Baguio City Government, conducted a regional summit on disaster risk reduction and multi-hazard awareness last Saturday. The seminar was attended by various participants from Cordillera provinces and adjoining regions.
The senator said it is inevitable for the country to face disasters, stressing the Philippines lies in a typhoon belt, located in moving tectonic plates, has volcanoes and is prone to other human induced disasters.
He said preparedness is important for local governments to become resilient to disasters, “with the help of disaster plans and ensure these are practiced.”
With the increasing advancement in technology involved in meteorology, the senator said the country is no longer far behind in terms of these developments.
He said, however, that the country is often caught off-guard despite these advancements because weather equipments are not being utilized to their full potential.
Pimentel lamented deaths in Marikina City during the height of Typhoon Ondoy and in Cagayan de Oro during the onslaught of Tropical Storm Sendong, saying predicting the floods was already possible with the placement of Doppler radars but these were underutilized.
As a victim of flashfloods, he noticed the government is caught unprepared for these disasters, leaving local governments paralyzed with only a signal number 2 typhoon.
“It is important to come up with theoretical preparations but the most important thing is the physical preparations through drills and practice,” he said.
“Leaders must also be knowledgeable in learning how to read multi-hazard maps which details flood, earthquake, landslide-prone areas including watershed areas where flooding may occur during heavy rains and where human activities like logging and mining occur,” he added.
Pimentel said disaster preparedness lies in the people with local governments helping each other.
Through these initiatives, the lawmaker said the country would be able to surpass and bear the brunt of some eight strongest typhoons in the worlds that enter the Philippines yearly.
He said proper training and practice would also help local governments minimize economic effects of disasters.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 09, 2012.