Act Like Mayor Bon-A A +A
By DP Limlingan
Thursday, October 17, 2013
"YOU must act like Mayor Bon.” This was the instruction of Governor Lilia Pineda to other Pampanga mayors who were called for an emergency meeting at the Benigno Aquino Hall at the Capitol compound in the City of San Fernando last Monday.
Gov. Pineda has lauded the efforts of Mayor Emmanuel Bonifacio “Bon” Alejandrino of Arayat town for the latter’s immediate action that prevented the loss of lives in a landslide at in Barangay San Juan Baño in the said municipality.
While it takes a lot of political will to order a pre-emptive evacuation in a certain area where a "clear and present danger" is looming, Mayor Alejandrino did not waste time in ordering his people, living at the foot of Mt. Arayat, to leave the area before the onslaught of the recent Typhoon "Santi" was felt in the province.
Mayor Alejandrino is more than a weather forecaster and a seer, as his swift action averted a possible repeat of a landslide tragedy that struck the said barangay in September 2009. The prior incident took the lives of several residents at Barangay San Juan Baño after boulders, mud and rainwater came gushing down from the mountains, destroying a number of occupied residences at the height of heavy rains.
The neophyte town executive did not want the tragedy to happen again that he immediately instructed the residents to vacate their place that is now considered a landslide prone area.
His “acting fast and responding swiftly” has made him the example of what other local chief executives in Pampanga should do before
disaster strikes. He should be emulated for saving lives and for having a strong political will in implementing an action for the welfare of his constituencies.
At the height of the weather disturbance wreaking havoc, a landslide happened in the said area and the people residing thereat were just too thankful that they were spared from possible injuries and even death due to the mayor’s orders.
It may be the first time for Alejandrino to become a public official, yet immediately showed his concern for the people he took an oath to serve.
In the said meeting meanwhile, Governor Pineda has urged Pampanga mayors especially those in disaster prone areas to do their role in rescue and evacuation efforts during the occurrence of a calamity. She said that disaster response systems of municipalities should always be in place and that mayors need to be always prepared for worse things to come.
She added that they should be serious in preparing and managing disasters in order to avoid the loss of lives and the destruction of properties. She emphasized the need for the local chief executives and their respective municipal engineers to pinpoint possible safe emergency relocation and evacuation sites for their people.
It can be observed that Pampanga is often visited by typhoons that bring heavy volume of rainwater causing floods in low-lying areas and landslides in places such as Barangay San Juan Baño.
The said meeting was prompted perhaps by the fierce winds of Typhoon Santi which toppled a great number of trees in different places and the heavy rains brought by other weather phenomena a few months ago.
Governor Pineda stressed that climate change is getting worse and that local officials should always be on the watch, up and ready for their people. She also solicited recommendations on what the provincial government can do to bring convenience to people that shall be relocated in evacuation centers.
She strongly emphasized that people should be pulled out from danger zones such as in Barangay San Juan Baño even before typhoons set in an area.
Local officials should act like Mayor Bon.
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Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on October 18, 2013.