NDRRMC chief: ‘Help us advocate the culture of preparedness’

Miriam P. Aquino SAN FERNANDO CITY, March 14 (PIA) - National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director and Civil Defense administrator Undersecretary Ricardo B. Jalad urged the members of media in La Union to help them advocate the “culture of preparedness” to the communities as the whole nation aims for resiliency from disasters in any form. In his recent visit to the new regional office of the OCD Region 1 here, Jalad emphasized the importance of disaster preparedness and increasing the capabilities of local government units in disaster management. “There are many preparations that need to be done by the barangays, cities, municipalities and provinces utilizing their respective Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund such as construction of evacuation centers and prepositioning of relief goods”, Jalad said. Jalad reiterated that all the local councils can utilize their calamity funds or DRRM funds which is not less than five percent of their revenue per year. He said 70 percent can be used for operation and the remaining 30 percent will be used during the onslaught of disasters especially if they need to declare their area under state of calamity. “The LGUs are the strength of the national and regional DRRM councils. All the preparations made by the national and regional level will be useless if the LGUs and the communities will not do their part, as they are the ones directly hit by disasters,” said Jalad. The official also shared that the government has been doing DRRM innovations in the state weather bureau PAGASA and at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) which now have improved and real time end-to-end monitoring of hazards like rainfall, typhoon, and earthquakes. He furthered that they are now into modernizing their process for Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (RDANA) in order to deliver timely and accurate reporting during disasters. During the same event, OCD Region 1 director Melchito M. Castro presented the status of the programs and activities of the agency for 2017 including the formulation of the Regional DRRMC 1 Operations Center Standard Operating Procedures and Guidelines, Regional Disaster Response Plan for Earthquake, and Tsunami and Contingency Plan for Human-Induced Hazards. “We will be conducting a regional earthquake and tsunami drill to prepare the communities in response to the statement of Director Solidum on the threat of the Manila Trench”, Castro said. Meanwhile, Jalad paid a courtesy call to La Union Governor Emmanuel Ortega III and to the members of the Sanguniang Panlalawigan during his regional visit. (JNPD/MPA-PIA-1, La Union)