OCD pushes long-term solutions on floods

MANILA. (From left) Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno and Assistant Secretary Markus Lacanilao.
MANILA. (From left) Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno and Assistant Secretary Markus Lacanilao.Contributed photo

THE Office of Civil Defense (OCD) vowed on Monday, February 5, 2024, to support the strengthening of river basin management and other measures that need to be undertaken to mitigate flood risks, especially in highly susceptible areas in the country.

“We cannot deny the fact that there are challenges and existing problems that need to be resolved with regard to the recurring problem of flooding in various areas of the country and these are pressing concerns,” said Civil Defense Administrator Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno.

“The government agencies, local government units, the private sector and companies, experts, as well as the public should work together in addressing those challenges and problems,” he added.

He also stressed the need to strengthen interventions and implement long-term solutions. These, he said, may include revisiting and formulation of new policies and plans that will cover all major river basins; strict implementation against human activities that aggravate the problems such as irresponsible mining practices; environmental protection; improvement of flood-control projects and other engineering interventions, permanent relocation of vulnerable communities.

“Clearer accountabilities must also be drawn,” said Nepomuceno.

Meanwhile, response operations in the Davao Region are in full swing following the aftermath of the shear line, northeast monsoon, and trough of a low pressure area (LPA).

Davao is one of the most affected regions due to multiple weather disturbances, affecting a total of 129,466 families in the region with 17 reported landslides and 50 flooding incidents as of Monday, February 5.

“Multiple weather disturbances affected the Davao region in just one month. The continuous rains in the upland areas, the heavy siltation of the Tagum-Libuganon River, and the rise of water levels in several river systems due to excessive rains have caused landslides and flooding in the region. We are discussing these concerns alongside the ongoing response operations in the area,” Nepomuceno said.

Still subject to validation, 16 fatalities, 11 injured, and three missing were also reported in the region.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRM) Operations Center, manned by OCD officers and personnel, is still on blue alert status as response and coordination activities continue.

“OCD is continuously coordinating and working with all relevant agencies to ensure provision of timely and appropriate support to the affected communities. President Bongbong Marcos and NDRRMC Chair and DND Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. are also closely monitoring the situation in Davao and other affected areas,” Nepomuceno said. (PR)


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