Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is pushing for the passage of an ordinance that would come up with a contingency plan during unusual emergencies following the “misencounter” between the police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in the city on Wednesday, Feb. 24, which led not only to deaths but also damages to property and chaos.
Belmonte raised the idea of institutionalizing contingency plans on Saturday, Feb. 27, in a bid to limit damages and avoid putting the lives of innocent civilians in danger.
This came after she met with the officials of the Quezon City Police District, the city barangays, the city’s Department of Public Order and Safety, and the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office on Friday to discuss what must be done when such an incident happens again.
“We have been conducting fire and earthquake drills regularly, but the event on Wednesday night called for a more coordinated, detailed crisis management approach in dealing with other incidents causing public disturbance and threat to public safety,” she said, referring to the “misencounter” at the parking lot of a fastfood restaurant along Commonwealth Avenue that left four people dead and several others injured.
During the meeting, it was agreed upon that the need to implement protocols for crowd safety and control should be included in the ordinance. Regular simulation exercises to finetune these protocols should also be conducted.
Activating an incident command post, allowing access to private subdivisions that will serve as alternate routes to avoid heavy traffic, and updating the public on what is happening on the ground to avoid misinformation, were also discussed.
“These should be contained in the envisioned ordinance,” the local government said in a statement.
“Economic losses and other damages brought about by operations such as what transpired last Wednesday should not be swept under the rug,” Belmonte said. “Who will compensate the Grab drivers and employees trapped in the establishments? How about the damaged vehicles in the area?”
The mayor added that while she “understands the nature of such operations could lead to collateral damage, still we should not let unwitting businesses and civilians suffer in the end.”
Efforts to help regain public confidence in the areas affected by untoward incidents, especially in a commercial or populated area, should also be part of the contingency plan, Belmonte added.