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PIA Press Release
2007/09/28

Pro-active local disaster councils needed in Bicol

Legazpi City (28 September) -- Let us all be pro-active in our disaster management activities.

This was the call on local chief executives by DILG Undersecretary for Peace and Order, and Transnational Crime Melchor P. Rosales at the opening ceremonies of the two-day National Forum on Disaster Management for Local Chief Executives (Bicol Cluster) held September 26-27, at the Casablanca Hotel here.

The two-day forum was sponsored by stakeholder agencies in disaster risk management headed by the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) and supported by the Department of National Defense, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Atmospheric Services Administration (PAGASA), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator.

Rosales in his message emphasized on the importance of the disaster preparedness in any locality spearheaded by the local government units by strengthening the local disaster coordinating councils be it in the provincial, city or municipal and barangay levels.

The two-day session delved more on the capability building of local government units with special emphasis on the disaster risk management framework to ensure that the local chief executives will be able to effectively govern and implement disaster management programs both during normal and emergency/disaster situations.

Rosales said that considering the pivotal role the local chief executives as chairman of their respective disaster coordinating councils, it is imperative that they, particularly the newly elected to the position, be familiarized and empowered with the tasks ahead of them as such, and know the hazards and risks that they may have to confront considering that the Philippines geographic location makes it prone to natural hazards.

A point raised among the LGUs is the problem on how to conduct pre-disaster activities as the calamity fund cannot be used without the declaration of calamity area of a certain locality unless a disaster or calamity struck.

The issue, Rosales vowed, will be brought to the attention of the NDCC as it is the body that will present to the President the status on national disaster preparedness and management plans and recommends to the President the declaration of state of calamity (covering a wide area) to facilitate the release of national calamity fund to support urgent and emergency activities.

A day earlier, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) conducted a related consultation-workshop on "Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction in Sub-National Development and Physical Planning Project".

The objective of the workshop seminar was to validate the disaster risk management framework as well as sought inputs from local and regional stakeholders to determine the areas of complementation among public and private agencies and local government units in project activities. (EA Nunez, PIA) [top]

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