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PIA Press Release

Iloilo holds disaster management forum

by ES Subong

Iloilo City (21 September) -- The Iloilo Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) held a Disaster Management Forum to continuously update its members and their constituents with disaster preparedness trends.

Iloilo OIC governor and Provincial Administrator Manuel Mejorada said the forum was a timely intervention and a right perspective since for the last six years, the province has not utilized its five percent calamity fund.

Mejorada said the province, by and large, has not experienced calamity of widespread adverse effects that necessitated the use of the funds.

Mejorada, however, added that the disaster-free years in the province are not a guarantee that the province will always be free of calamities, hence, the need for preparedness must be a continuing attitude and a learning process.

He also said that the geohazard map of Iloilo reveals certain vulnerable areas, besides the fact that Iloilo is no stranger to floods, earthquakes, landslides, and other natural and man-made disasters.

Deputized Provincial Disaster Coordinating Officer Jerry Bionat said Western Visayas has its own potential sources of hazards, some of which are the Kanlaon volcano in Negros and the fault lines that run along San Joaguin to Nabas, Aklan, called the Western Panay Fault lines, also affecting the mountain areas in Alimodian.

With this knowledge, Bionat said the provincial government has been undertaking efforts that lives, property and livelihood are not badly destroyed.

Participants in the Disaster Management Forum were particularly concerned on how their Local Government Units (LGUs) could rightly avail of the calamity funds, how these can be disbursed and in what circumstances can the LGUs declare their communities as calamity areas.

Bionat said the Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council in each town, chaired by the Mayor, should strengthen its structure and function as effectively as it can so that disaster management becomes a way of life by the people.

The forum, held in the wake of flashfloods and heavy rains in Iloilo, was attended by more or less 100 people, including members of volunteer rescue groups. (PIA 6) [top]

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