Is Bohol ready for disasters?
Tagbilaran City (2 October) -- Pinpointing danger zones may be something new for government agencies and units as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo asked them to better prepare, but its nothing new for Bohol.
Since 1997, Bohol through the Capitol has had the READY project implemented under the Philippine Vulcanology and Seismology (PhiVolcs).
READY Project is basically hazard mapping and assessment for effective community based disaster risk management, explains Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) Action Officer Lt. Col. Raul Mendez.
Speaking at the weekly Kapihan sa PIA, Col. Mendez reiterated that with the Ready Project, towns have been capacitated to know which areas in their responsibilities are prone to disaster.
This allows them to plan well ahead and so local government can also appraise people about the risks involved in insisting to develop areas within the hazard zones.
The project also puts in place specific responses and evacuation plans to keep people save from disasters, Col. Mendez bared.
The presidential directive also came on the heels of disasters hitting Metro Manila and brought about by storm Ondoy.
"Somebody must be in charge of designating the areas," the President stressed at the Cabinet meeting held at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
In Bohol, the PDCC has broken the usual reactive approach to disasters with the hazard maps now in place.
With Capitol, the local governments here have received trainings on Rapid Earthquake Damage Assessment System, a computer-software born out of the hazard maps, he continued.
Using the concept of simulation, Philvolcs geoscientists and now local governments who see the software as useful in their land use planning can now generate seismic and hazard maps for emergency response.
With officials trained and aware of these areas in their localities, it would be easy for barangay captains to implement land use plans to make sure people do not build houses on hazardous areas.
The result is a well-informed populace of the dangers, evacuation plans on the ready and more lives are saved, Mendez summed. (PIA) [top]