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PIA Press Release

Over 50% of LGUs in Central Visayas have disaster preparedness plan

Cebu City (30 October) -- More than 50 percent of local government units (LGUs) in Central Visayas have submitted their disaster risk management plan to the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC-7) that entails their disaster preparedness and response efforts during times of natural calamities.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD-7) Spokesperson Neil Sanchez bared around 65 to 70 percent of LGUs in the region has drafted their respective disaster risk management plan. The OCD serves as the secretariat of the RDCC.

But with what happened in Luzon where over 800 people were killed and thousands more injured not to mention the millions of pesos in damage to properties and agriculture from the wraths of Typhoons 'Ondoy' and 'Pepeng', this has opened the eyes of the LGUs to be more proactive rather than reactive in times of calamities, Sanchez said.

"This is one positive result of the typhoon tragedy. I guess we have learned our lesson," Sanchez stressed.

The ODC-7 spokesperson disclosed the challenge today lies in strengthening the response and rescue operations of local government units especially with the recent directive of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) on the 'zero casualty' policy. The 'zero casualty' policy refers to the measures implemented to ensure that there will be no loss of lives during natural disasters.

Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo authorized the use of police powers to force residents living in danger prone areas to be evacuated in times of typhoons or non-stop heavy rains in line with the NDCC directive.

Sanchez, however, said that those who refuse to heed the call for evacuation will be left at their own risk as the directive specified that women, elderly and children will be the priority to be taken out for safety. "Those who did not respond to the call to evacuate will still be provided assistance but they will be given the least priority," Sanchez emphasized.

LGUs in the region have already been given a list identified areas in their respective jurisdiction that are prone to landslides, flooding and flashfloods based on the geohazard mapping of the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources, Phivolcs and the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), this is learned.

PAGASA Chief Meteorological Officer Oscar Tabada said the disaster risk management plan of LGUs will be tested as another typhoon codename 'Santi' just entered the country and is expected to hit Northern Luzon again. Typhoon 'Santi' is the 19th typhoon to strike the country.

Tabada warned there are six typhoons expected in the last quarter or from October to December and with Typhoon 'Santi,' five more typhoons are anticipated.

"We already went beyond the average of between 19 to 20 typhoons a year," Tabada said and blamed it on global warming brought about by climate change.

Because of climate change, what happened in Luzon where massive flooding was the worst that was documented in the country in the past 40 years could likely happen here in Cebu, Tabada said.

"We should help decrease greenhouse gases emission simply by segregating garbage as this is a main source of carbon dioxide. Likewise let us not also throw our garbage just anywhere as this will clog the drainage system and will cause flooding," Tabada said. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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