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PIA Press Release

Western Visayas gets ready for emergencies

Iloilo City (12 October) -- Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Regional Director Rosario Cabrera said Western Visayas is ready for any emergency arising from typhoons and other natural calamities.

Cabrera said disaster coordinating councils have been organized in local government units and are made up of various sectors including national government agencies and institutions, non-government organizations, the private sector, and volunteer organizations with local chief executives as chairpersons.

The Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) is the overall coordinating body for disaster management in the region. It is chaired by Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Director Chief Supt. Isagani Cuevas with OCD Regional Director Cabrera as vice chairperson.

Citing lessons learned from past calamities that hit the region especially Typhoon "Frank," Cabrera said the RDCC has stepped up its level of readiness and is counting on the support of its members including the PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and other members of the Department of National Defense (DND).

The involvement of the AFP in disaster response operations particularly in Luzon has caught the attention of Iloilo Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) Member Arthur Defensor, Jr. who said the particular organization has a vital role to play in emergencies such as typhoons and floods.

Cabrera said the AFP has been of a big help especially in the areas of search and rescue, relief, and communications as shown by their activities during the onslaught of typhoons "Ondoy" in Metro Manila and "Pepeng" in northern and central Luzon.

As part of her continuing efforts to bring government help to typhoon victims in that part of the country, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the National Insurance Commission (NIC) to facilitate the immediate payment of all insurance claims of typhoon victims.

Earlier, President Arroyo ordered her Cabinet officials to mobilize their departments and offices to help in rescue and relief operations and speed up these activities.

Last week, the Chief Executive mobilized Oplan Sagip Bayan and made Malacanang as the center of operation for various government agencies and volunteer organizations that extend relief assistance to victims of tropical storms "Ondoy" and "Pepeng."

She has also ordered the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to provide clean and potable water supply as well as the release of the 13th month pay of government workers in typhoon-hit areas.

President Arroyo has put the entire country under a state of calamity and assured the Filipinos that the government has enough funds to sustain relief and reconstruction efforts for typhoon victims.

She thanked donors and volunteers for their support to Oplan Sagip Bayan that continues to assist typhoon victims. (PIA 6-JSC) [top]

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