THE earthquakes that hit parts of Mindanao reminded the local government units (LGUs) of the necessity of a disaster preparedness program.
The officials of the cities of Cebu and Mandaue offered different answers when asked about their preparedness when disaster strikes.
Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak said he could not say they are “ready in times of any disaster or calamity.”
He said the City, however, has been always taking steps to prepare its residents for tremors and typhoons—regular earthquake drills and information drive. Tumulak chairs the committee on disaster risk reduction management (DRRM) in the City Council.
As to Mandaue City’s DRRM head Felix Suico Jr., he said the city is prepared for any disaster.
The October 2013 Bohol Earthquake, which also affected Cebu, served as a lesson to the city. The tremor showed that its DRRM lacked tools that can be used when there is a collapsed building; the city eventually purchased them.
However, Suico said they have yet to purchase an aerial ladder that could reach tall buildings. The current aerial ladder of the city’s DRRM office can only reach the sixth floor.
In Cebu City, Tumulak said companies and schools are now required to conduct regular drills in cases of earthquake and fire, and seminars for students and employees.
He urged the officials of 80 barangays to keep a directory of nurses, doctors, plumbers, electricians and carpenters. These people, he said, are valuable in times of emergency situations.
Tumulak also encouraged residents to register as volunteers in their respective barangays, so they could be contacted right away when the need arises.
The City has also distributed a risk reduction map to the barangays where the identified risks of the said barangay are indicated.
As earthquakes can hit a place anytime, Suico said they often conduct evacuation drills in barangays, schools, government offices and private companies.
He said they also have a stock of basic foods like canned goods and hygiene kits, among others. These are good for three days.
Suico said the disaster agencies in Cebu Province are well coordinated and are grouped in north, south and central clusters.
He said he is willing to send his personnel who are trained in search and rescue operations to Mindanao.
For Cebu City’s part, Mayor Edgardo Labella has tasked City Administrator Floro Casas Jr. and Tumulak to coordinate with the LGUs in the affected areas so they would know their needs. JJL, KFD