By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) will institutionalize an incident command system and center to ensure a coordinated action among ecozones in disaster stricken areas.
PEZA Director-General Charito B. Plaza said locators suggested this during their meeting Thursday following the eruption of Taal Volcano that affected the Calabarzon area, which houses roughly half of total ecozones in the country.
“PEZA ecozones and locators have already their own disaster preparedness measures, but we will institutionalize the PEZA Incident Command System and Center so PEZA will be on top of command during calamities like directives on evacuation and accurate information to guide locators during natural or man-made calamities,” she said.
But PEZA will establish its own “Incident Command System and Center” where ecozones, industries, workers and other stakeholders will get their information and direction in times of natural or man-made disasters and emergencies.
A new requirement will be imposed to application of ecozone development that clearance from geohazards will be undertaken as part of feasibility studies of the location of proposed ecozones.
This also emboldened Plaza to make all its ecozones be affiliated as military reservists.
PEZA is launching the program about the “Affiliation of PEZA Employees, Ecozones and Industries as Military Reservist Unit and the Disaster Resilience and Emergency Management (DREAM).” Under such program, PEZAns and industry workers are prepared to be disaster and emergenc responders who help ensure safety during natural or man-made disasters and who help secure lives and the ecozones.
So far, all operations of its 60 ecozones (59 are privately-owned) in Region IV-A or the Calabarzon area are back in full operation except for three Laguna Technopark (94 percent operational), Light Industry and Science Park III (94 percent), Lima Technology Center (90 percent) which are still experiencing power interruptions as ashfalls knocked down transmission lines in the area. The three ecozones are just 17 to 20 kilometers away from Taal Volcano.