IN SPITE of Misamis Occidental’s (MisOcc) lack of experience in handling heavy floods and landslides, its officials guarantee that the province will be 100 percent prepared when disasters strike.

MisOcc Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) Gain Paul de Barras assured Wednesday they will disseminate the information on disaster preparedness and response learned from the two-day seminar of the PDRRM summit series for local chief executives at a convention center here.

“Although it has been years that we have not experienced flooding and landslides, still we have to prepare ourselves as precautionary measures to keep our people safe from the unpredictable climate these days," de Barras said.

He said two died in a landslide three years ago, and one during the low pressure area before Agaton struck of this year.

“We will really prepare. We will put up bells in each barangay. They will be rung once, twice, depending on the agreement of the corresponding meanings whenever responding to disasters,” he said.

MisOcc PDRRMO will also spread the information in the barangay levels.

“It is really important that we get there [barangay level]. But there are around 400 barangays in Misamis Occidental that we have to educate and train under our programs. It is difficult, but it is important,” de Barras said.

Jimenez Mayor Rosario Balais is in dilemma since her town is surrounded by both the river and sea.

“Although Jimenez has not experienced heavy floods, but we have noticed lately that whenever there are rainshowers, there are puddles of water on the streets already. When I get back after this summit, I am to check the flood control system in our town kasi delikado talaga,” Balais said.

However, in terms of preparedness, she said that they lack rescue boats in case of heavy floods in the town.

“That is my problem. But I am currently creating a team where engineers and other experts on this can come up with a plan to avoid floods getting into the houses of the people in Jimenez,” she added.

MisOcc Governor Herminia Ramiro shared that when she assumed office, she tapped the Misamis Occident Search and Rescue Team (Mosart) to help them in case of disasters.

“The current problem of the province has not been really given attention before. When I assumed office, there are so many problems and things that I have to look into. But with Mosart, since it is really active, I am planning to put up an office and council of PDRRMO,” Ramiro said.

She has alloted P5 million for the construction and operation of the office and council.

She assured to give more attention in the disaster awareness among the people of MisOcc.

“The people are immediately affected when calamities and disasters would come. So I am to meet with the other local government unit officials to help me in this,” she said.