BANAUE, Ifugao -- Lessons from previous disasters, the latest from the devastating Typhoon Yolanda, make it imperative for local government units to institutionalize disaster risk reduction and management councils at all levels down to the barangay.

Office of Civil Defense-Cordillera Administrative Region (OCD-CAR) Assistant Regional Director Jose Valera stressed to the participants of the Ifugao Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Summit held here saying officials must seriously consider the mandatory institutionalization of disaster councils in their respective LGUs.

He explained the Philippines is third in the World Risk Index Report of 2011 in terms of vulnerability to all types of natural hazards and even man-made disasters due to its geographical location.

The country is also located in the typhoon-belt in the Pacific that experiences at least 20 typhoons a year of which seven are usually destructive.

It is also situated in the "ring of fire" in the Pacific rim between two tectonic plates in the Euro-Asian and Arctic plates. This explains why the country is prone to volcanic eruptions as there are 300 volcanoes of which 22 are active. The country also experiences 20 earthquakes per day.

To attest to these facts, Valera cited the recent disasters like typhoon “Pablo”, the earthquake in Bohol, the siege of Zamboanga, and typhoon “Yolanda”, the strongest typhoon that ever hit the country killing thousands of people and rendering thousands more homeless and helpless.

According to Valera, Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2014-1, signed on April 14, 2014 among the National DRRM Council (NDRRM), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) contain the implementing guidelines for the mandatory establishment of local DRRM Offices (LDRRMO) or Barangay DRRM Committees.

This is the foremost goal of Republic Act No. 10121 otherwise known as the Philippine DRRM Act of 2010, which seeks to strengthen the country’s National DRRM System towards sustainable economic development by mainstreaming the same in all national and local development processes.

The LDRRMO will be initially composed of a Local DRRM Officer to be assisted by 3 staff responsible for Administration and Training, Research and Planning and Operations and Warning.

The budgetary requirements for personal services, maintenance and other operating expenditures and capital outlay of the LDRRMO shall be sourced from the General Fund of the LGU while the other maintenance and operating expenditures and other capital outlay requirements of the LDRRMO or BDRRMC in the implementation of DRRM programs shall be charged to the Local DRRM Fund. (Daniel Codamon)