NEGROS Occidental Third District Representative Francisco “Kiko” Benitez has started to initiate a rehabilitation plan for the Metro Third areas affected by the twin flooding on January 1 and 8, 2021.
Benitez hosted a small group meeting, bringing together the Regional Team of the Office of Civil Defense – Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council headed by Regional Director Jose Roberto Nunez with representatives of Victorias, EB Magalona, Silay, and Talisay – areas in the Third District directly affected by the January 1 and January 8, 2021 floods, and agencies that can assist rehabilitation efforts.
The convergence focused on the requirements of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to mobilize and allocate funding for immediate rehabilitation of damaged public works in the Third District caused by the flash floods.
On January 13, Benitez requested the assistance of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for assistance in mobilizing government resources for the vital infrastructures hit by the twin episodes of flooding.
Benitez cited the report of the Department of Social Welfare and Development submitted to his office noting that 20,530 families were affected and also caused significant damages to agriculture and infrastructure.
Nunez said the report on the damages submitted by the office of Benitez to the Office of the President were endorsed to the NDRRMC and the Regional DRRMC for validation, assessment and consideration for immediate action.
The four Metro 3rd cities of Victorias, Silay, Talisay and the municipality of EB Magalona have already submitted to the Congressional District Office a list of priorities for consideration.
Benitez summarized the critical areas of concern that have to be addressed to attain a resilient disaster response – the need for rain gauges in monitoring and an early warning system; dredging of rivers and tributaries; slope protection, drainage master plan; repair of roads and bridges; identifying houses in disaster-prone areas, geo-tagging, relocation plan; comprehensive waste segregation and management plan; and massive reforestation in upland and midland areas with attention to livelihood opportunities for families.
In mid-March, Benitez and the OCD will spearhead a Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Planning Workshop, where the LGU representatives will finalize with concerned national agencies the priority rehabilitation programs.
Participants in the small group meeting included Provincial DRRM head Zeaphard Caelian, Victorias City Councilor Derek Palanca, Talisay Executive Assistant Nicolai Jalandoni, National Housing Authority Provincial Manager Alejandro Ongsuco, the city/municipal DRRM officers of Victorias, EB Magalona, Silay and Talisay, and representatives from the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Interior and Local Government, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources.