PLAYING safe is not in the vocabulary of Rodrigo Bustillo, the operations officer of the Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), who constantly faces different forms of disaster.
Being a risk taker is a must attitude. Bustillo, a licensed forester, shared in an interview that he has been in the public service for more than two decades already. He first served in the Davao City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) for 18 years until he got promoted and assigned to lead the then newly-established CDRRMO in 2016.
Bustillo is a graduate of Bachelor in Forestry in Central Mindanao University in Bukidnon. He finished his Master’s degree in Public Administration at the University of Southeastern Philippines (Usep) in 2007. With his willingness to widen his horizon, he was given the opportunity and was sent to Australia where he graduated Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning in 2009.
Given that the office is still new, he encountered major challenges especially in organizing the operations center and determining its function. When he assumed, he assured that there would be public participation and coordination down to the grassroots level. He strengthened collaboration and networking with barangays to expedite communication in disseminating advisories and pushed for coordination protocol should a disaster arise.
“When we talk about the operation, between life and death man gyud na. Sauna, kanya-kanya man ang lihok sa mga responders, sa atong pag-abot sa opisina, ato nang gihiusa. Karon panahon sa pag responde sa mga emergency, with the proper coordination, kining mga responders magtinabangay na on the ground (Before, there is no unity in terms of disaster response among volunteers. When we arrived at the office, we unite all the volunteers. Now, with proper coordination, the responders help each other),” he said.
He underscored to responders in Davao City that the real meaning of volunteerism is cooperating with other responders, other units, and other stakeholders in addressing the emergency needs of the public.
He is hands-on in responding to disasters. He checks situations and disaster areas himself to interact with the affected communities.
“Given all those information combined with the knowledge I gained, we could come up with what we call comprehensive planning. I always solicit knowledge from other people. I listen to people from top to bottom which could help me in my decision making,” Bustillo said.
Being in Cenro for almost two decades helped him learn early the duties as CDRRMO operation officer since when he was there, he was assigned at the Forester division where they studied the forest in the hinterland of the city and water management.
True enough, when you have passion for work you don’t work a day in your life. This is how Bustillo views his current assignment. He performs his duties with sincerity, honesty and calculated risks.
“Being a risk taker means that if I have to decide these things para sa kaayuhan sa tanan, I really have to make a decision in favor sa tao nga atong gi-huna-huna nga maluwas (The welfare of the general public comes first. My goal is to save people), he said.