Geohazard maps should be used, understood-A A +A
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
THE death toll from Typhoon Pablo last December in Compostela Valley could have been reduced had barangay officials been properly educated on the geohazard map that shows New Bataan shaded in purple, which means the area is susceptible to landslides.
But while saying this, Senator Loren Legarda refused to put the blame on anybody for the high casualty rate suffered by the province from the calamity, especially in Barangay Andap where most of the victims come from.
"I'm not blaming anyone. Blaming will not bring back lives lost," Legarda told the regular Club 888 Forum at the Marco Polo Davao on Wednesday.
"My kind of politics is no blaming but learning the lessons," added Legarda, who visited Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental Monday and Tuesday to distribute to local officials geohazard maps, which she had printed out from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) website.
She said everyone must have knowledge of their geographical location and determine whether they are at high risk or not.
"Am I living in a landslide area? Am I living in a flood-prone area? Filipinos in every barangay in the country need to know this information far before any typhoon signals are raised," the senator said in a statement.
Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on climate change, said the geohazard map has been there at the MGB website since 2007 yet nobody had it printed for distribution to local officials.
The lady senator added that merely giving barangay officials these mapsare not enough. A workshop and continuing education on the dangers faced by residents in an area should be held regularly, she emphasized.
"I suggest that every mayor should have it (geohazard map) in their municipal halls," said Legarda.
She said what happened during the Pablo tragedy was a "breakdown in communication."
"Disasters should not happen before we begin to take action. We should arm our local government officials with the right tools to ensure that our nation is always prepared and resilient in disasters," Legarda added.
The senator said she distributed the maps to Compostela Valley Governor Arturo T. Uy and Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon during her visit.
Legarda also allocated some P5 million of her Priority Development Assistance Fund to Davao Oriental and another P4 million for Compostela Valley to fund the construction of permanent shelters for residents affected by Pablo.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 10, 2013.