Quake raises need for P34.6M center: mayor-A A +A
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
CEBU CITY -- With the earthquake last Friday night and the heavy rains nowadays, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama underscored the need to establish a command center for disaster response.
In Mandaue, the City Engineering Office inspected government buildings on Monday to check for any damage caused by the quake.
Two powerful quakes hit the country in the last four days. At 2:49 p.m. Monday, a 5.9-magnitude quake struck Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat. The quake that hit Samar at 8:47 last Friday night was 7.6 in magnitude.
To deal with disasters, Mayor Rama is seeking the cooperation of the Cebu City Council to establish a command center, particularly in the approval of its budget.
“Again, I want to bring to the attention of the council that command center. Di ko gusto (I don’t want) that under my watch as mayor, I would look back and have regrets because we did not get our act together,” he said.
The command center is among the items that the City Council reportedly did not approve when it passed the P5.2-billion operating budget of the City Government for this year.
But when a 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit the city last February, the City’s Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC) proposed the inclusion of a P34.6-million command center in the City’s P157.5-million calamity fund for 2012.
At present, though, the items proposed to be charged to the calamity fund have not yet been approved by the council.
Some councilors raised several questions on the items included in the 2012 calamity fund, which included the hiring of job-order personnel for the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor.
The legislative body also has asked LDRRMC to submit first a status report on the projects whose implementation was covered by last year’s calamity fund.
That included the dredging of creeks and rivers and other flood mitigation projects that includes construction of gabions, retaining walls, and riverbank protection.
LDRRMC Executive Director Cathy Yso said they will try to submit their report to the council within this month.
She added that they are only waiting for the report of the Department of Engineering and Public Works on the matter.
If the inclusion of a command center will not be approved, Rama said he will include it among the items to be funded in next year’s annual budget.
The command center is very important in disaster response, he said, and will be the site where instructions will be given, particularly on where the public can go, where to ask for help, and what to do when disaster strikes.
“Kung naa nay command center, mausa na ni tanan (A command center will allow us to coordinate these functions). There is urgency to this. I don’t want to procrastinate,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mandaue City Engineer Dario Mago said he assigned three teams to inspect barangay halls, classrooms and other government-owned buildings in the city’s 27 barangays.
“We are prioritizing public buildings, but we will also inspect private structures,” Mago told Sun.Star Cebu.
He said the teams will give him a report today, Tuesday.
Engineer Chelo Jamura, physical facilities coordinator of the Department of Education Mandaue City Division, said they received no reports of cracks in school buildings.
“So far, we haven’t received any report from school heads. But the engineering office is now inspecting school buildings,” she said.
This year, the City Engineering Office issued a demolition permit for five school buildings, which include those affected by the earthquake last February.
One of the school buildings is located at the Mandaue City Comprehensive National School, which has not started the demolition yet.
Roger Paller, information officer of Mandaue City, said the City and the Aboitiz Foundation will construct a building with 15 classrooms to replace the condemned school building. (PDF/RSB/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 04, 2012.