Senator calls for stronger disaster preparedness-A A +A
Monday, January 2, 2012
SENATOR Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III is calling on the government for a stronger disaster preparedness and mitigation measures to areas in the country that are prone to flooding.
Pimentel said the government should do what it can to prevent disasters, like Tropical Storm Sendong that ravaged his hometown, Cagayan de Oro, from happening again.
Citing that the country is prone to disasters caused by typhoons, Pimentel said high priority should be given to disaster preparedness systems, as he lauded President Benigno Aquino for allocating P14.2 billion as disaster preparedness fund in addition to the P7.5-billion calamity fund in the 2012 General Appropriations Act.
Pimentel said the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) should immediately develop geo-hazard maps.
“This should be done for all areas and not just those traditionally prone to flooding. This would increase the awareness and readiness of local governments for potential disasters,” Pimentel said.
He said part of disaster preparedness is the generation of disaster information and baseline scenarios culled from the experience of previous disasters that hit the country which will be cascaded to the local government units (LGUs).
He said despite the “one or two calamities of various intensities” that hit the country annually, the government seems genuinely unprepared at the approach of a new typhoon.
“I cannot believe that these scenarios over, say, the past eight years, have not been done yet by Pagasa, DOST (Department of Science and Technology) and former national disaster councils. Why have they not been given to the LGUs?” he said.
He said experience and action is the key to effective disaster reduction, which often would take place while the situation is happening.
“I encourage our President to get those who have experience in disaster mitigation and deploy them in key positions in various agencies. We need these men by whose decisions and actions lives are saved,” he said. (Nicole J. Managbanag)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 03, 2012.