San Pablo City re-crafts disaster risk reduction, management plan

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SAN PABLO CITY, Laguna – This city is re-crafting its Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) contingency plan to counter unexpected occurrences and rectify disaster preparedness flaws.

In a report on Tuesday, the CDRRMC took note of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s call in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday “to earnestly undertake initiatives to reduce our vulnerabilities to natural hazards, and bolster our resilience to the impact of natural disasters and climate change.”

The President’s SONA 2017 emphasized on the country’s resilience to climate change and natural disasters and called on Congress “to expeditious craft a law establishing a new authority or department that is responsive to the prevailing 21st century conditions and empowered to best deliver the enhanced disaster resiliency and quick disaster response.”

In his third SONA on Monday, the President announced that he and the Cabinet have approved for immediate endorsement to Congress the passage of a law creating the “Department of Disaster Management.”

As part of the city’s disaster resilience preparedness, Mayor Loreto S. Amante has ordered the CDRRMO to upgrade, not only its inventory of equipment and paraphernalia needed during emergencies, but also in providing proper briefings and appropriate trainings to their key personnel.

Amante issued the directive amid the series of southwest monsoon “Habagat”-induced rains due to the weather disturbances “Henry, Inday, and Josie,” which triggered floods in the city’s low-lying and flood-prone villages here.

Aware of the limitations, Amante said that if reports and requests for rescue were received simultaneously, then there is really a need for prioritization – as well as the required special skills and proper use of discretion.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency, CDRRMO Chief Margarita Vanessa T. Reyes disclosed that her office personnel have already undergone trainings both initiated by the Calabarzon Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC), Laguna Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) and the Philippine Red Cross.

Reyes said radio operators from the city government of San Pablo Communication Network and the barangays also took the refresher course on radio operations conducted by the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC).

She also mentioned that Amante regularly attends various forums and seminars on disaster management hosted by the different concerned agencies.

The CDRRMO chief also said that the City Social Welfare and Development Office personnel and the Hotel and Restaurant Management students from the Dalubhasaan ng Lunsod ng San Pablo (DLSP) are tapped and deployed to man the “kitchen brigade” during a disaster operation.

According to Reyes, the social welfare officers and staff, and the students will take charge of the emergency kitchen, utensils, stoves and other cooking equipments to be used by evacuees in preparing their food out of the relief packs containing of noodles, canned goods, rice and coffee, cream, milk and sugar.

Reyes said that this arrangement gives leeway to the evacuees on what to prepare for their meals, instead of just giving them porridge and ready-to-eat meal that are prone to spoilage or even susceptible to food poisoning if not properly prepared or stored. (Ruben E. Taningco/PNA)