By Chito Chavez
With the onset of the rainy season, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has alerted the governors, mayors, and punong barangays to achieve the goal of “zero-casualty’’ in the event of man-made or natural disasters.
DILG officer-in-charge (OIC) Eduardo M. Año asked the local government units (LGU) to adopt the necessary disaster preparedness measures to reach this goal.
“The safety of people tomorrow relies on what we do today. Make use of times of sunshine to mitigate risks of times of severe downpour,” said Año.
He added that achieving zero-casualty or no deaths during natural calamities, as the ultimate barometer of effective disaster preparedness, is possible as proven during tropical storm Jolina last year and typhoon Chedeng in 2015.
“Our country has gone through deadly natural disasters While we proved to be a resilient nation, it’s time to aim for milestones in disaster preparedness involving the national and local governments, the private sector, and the people,” Año pointed out.
While disaster preparedness should be done on a whole-of-nation approach, the DILG chief emphasized the critical role of local chief executives in taking the lead in preemptive actions towards making their areas of jurisdiction “listong pamayanan” (disaster-ready community).
In Memorandum Circular No. 2018-73, Año asked the local government heads to convene their respective Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (LDRRMCs) and conduct pre-disaster risk assessments for areas with high susceptibility to floods, flash floods, rain-induced landslides and debris flow.
He stressed that local government units (LGUs) should also prepare, review, and update their current adopted contingency plans for hydro-meteorological hazards and evaluate if established local preparedness measures are adequate.
“Closely coordinate with the PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, Astronomical Services Administration) for timely weather updates, and with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau for adequate information on the threats of flooding and rainfall-induced landslides within your respective areas of responsibility,” he added.
All Early Warning Systems (EWS) such as automated rain gauges, water level stations, and other local EWS within their area of responsibility should also be checked by LGUs in collaboration with Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Regional Offices.
“Always be guided with the DILG Operation Listo manuals that provide set of minimum progressive response actions before, during and after a typhoon,” Año noted.
The DILG chief said local governments may utilize the 70 percent component of the LDRRM Fund for their disaster preparedness and risk management activities.
He also reminded that LGUs must have designated evacuation centers complete with water supply, power, and health and sanitation facilities, and their locations made known or communicated to households.
The DILG is the Vice-Chair for Disaster Preparedness in the National DRRMC as mandated by Republic Act No. 10121 known as the Philippine DRRM Act of 2010.
LGUs may get in touch with the DILG Central Office Disaster Information Coordinating Center (CODIX) at email address [email protected] or through the concerned DILG Regional Offices or Regional DRRMC for queries.