EXECUTIVE Order No. 29 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte on June 28, 2017 declares July of every year as the National Disaster Resilience Month (NDRM) in the Philippines. This order aims to further strengthen every individual’s capability to be disaster resilient. So beginning Monday, July 1, 2019, everybody is encouraged to do an act to promote or support the disaster resilience of the community.
In your local government unit, there are a lot of lined up activities. Some opt to conduct their Information Education Campaign (IEC) to build awareness that can contribute to capacity development. Others should be doing tree planting activities, canal de-clogging and skills trainings. But, whatever your LGU do, you need to do more. The following should guide you in your homes, workplace or school to Contribute in the campaign for disaster resilience;
Consider status of your surroundings. If a typhoon arrives next month, is it ready to accommodate all the rain? If not, perhaps, you need to start building a better drainage system. Make sure that all water that will flow in your yard will not be obstructed. Again, remember that obstructing free flow of water in the backyard can cause a landslide. How? If the water becomes stagnant, it will always find a way to escape, downwards, even in concrete pavements. When the water gets under, it is accumulated by the soil. Just as the soil particles gets heavy with the weight of the water, it will just erode in a blink of the eye.
Is your roof dripping? Then start fixing it right now. Make the necessary repairs or replace it while you still have time.
Is your home under the branches of a tree? If yes, maybe you need to ask someone to help you remove them right now. Tree branches may fall if a typhoon comes along with strong winds.
What if a typhoon comes while your backyard is eroded, or under renovation due to landslide? Firstly, make sure that no water will pass through the eroded portion of your yard by diverting all kinds of possible water flow. Then, cover the eroded portion with water resistant material like canvass or plastics.
Finally, evacuate to your relatives or neighbors to avoid possible further erosion. Evacuation is not a bad thing. Please refrain from the concept of “kababain nga maki-balay” if your safety is at stake. I’m sure your relatives are more than willing to accommodate you anyway. If not, proceed to the designated evacuation centers in your Barangay, mostly in the Barangay Halls.
See? There’s a lot to do during the Disaster Resilience Month, in your own personal capacity. If you are still wondering, maybe you also need to recall July 16, 1990. I was just a young boy then, when a Magnitude 7.7 earthquake destroyed the Cordilleras and produced a 125 km-long ground rupture that stretched from Dingalan, Aurora to Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija. Of course, there were a lot of Deaths, which we also commemorate during the National Disaster Resilience Month. We should learn from there and keep in mind that life is at stake and we should be resilient in our own way. Remember that whatever actions you do that concerns disaster preparedness is a lot of contribution in everybody’s goal of having a Disaster Resilient Community.
Be prepared! Be resilient!