Disaster Risk Reduction

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By Benjie R. Pangan

At Close Range

Sunday, June 29, 2014


THE rainy season has officially entered our calendar of activities so says Pagasa and with this, we ask ourselves if we are prepared for its coming. Are we?

Every year, we encounter problems regarding floods and overtopping rivers and waterways. Almost always, we apply band-aid solutions to problems only to go back the drawing board and evaluate matters. Pathetic.

On a national scale the administration is talking of increased appropriation for national disaster mitigation getting special attention next year through "unprecedented increase in funding in next year's budget for measures to help the country cope with the effects of a warming earth".

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The proposal for next year's national government budget is P2.6 trillion, which is 15.1 percent higher over this year P2.26 trillion.

The magnitude 5.7 earthquake, which struck parts of Luzon including Metro Manila, was rude awakening constraining MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino to call for a Metro Manila-wide earthquake drill that will help the public learn how to react correctly if an earthquake strikes.

The MMDA chief said earthquake drills and disaster management trainings should not be a one-time event but should be done regularly in government offices and private organizations to refresh the public's awareness and know-how about what to do during and after an earthquake.

Worst-case scenarios will be used to test the disaster preparedness in Metro Manila and in other parts of the country.

In Mabalacat City, I'm sure we are ready to address any pending disaster according to Jeffrey Santos, head of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office. A mapping effort was done to identify barangays with low-to-high susceptibility to flooding.

These barangays are: Mabiga, Poblacion, Sta. Ines, Lakandula, Camachiles, Dolores, Tabun, Mangalit, Sapang Biabas and Sto. Rosario. An incident command center will be set up which coordinates efforts involving several offices of the City Government and other stakeholders.

Evacuation centers will also be prepared and available in case of emergency but in view of high elevation of Mabalacat City, massive evacuation efforts are highly improbable. Nevertheless the city is a general's host to evacuees of Pampanga. Mayor Boking Morales, other city officials and members of the Sanguniang Panglungsod are supportive of the disaster plans.

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On July 4, 2014, Novation Resources Inc., will hold a special recruitment activity at PESO Xevera, Mabalacat City for domestic helpers for Malaysia and Hong Kong. Interested applicants are encouraged to come to the office for interview.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on June 30, 2014.

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