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Commentary: 'Tis time to seriously look into disaster management

Tacloban City (December 9) -- Learning about the damage to life and property of the flooding brought about by continuous rains in Eastern Samar and Northern Samar, brings to mind the urgency for all the stakeholders take a serious look into disaster preparedness, mitigation and control, especially in the barangays.

This issue of disasters in the country is not the sole responsibility of the National Government, neither is it the responsibility of the local governments alone. It is the responsibility of all concerned agencies, local government units, non-government organizations and the people themselves.

The Government has already spent numerous amount of funds in conducting geo-hazard mapping of disaster-prone areas. The barangays affected have been informed. What's next?

It is about time, the barangay folks are seriously empowered by giving them not only the information about the disaster vulnerability of their area but they must also be trained to be able know what to do about the information.

It is not enough that the people know, it is also necessary that they are able to react or act the right way, on the information they have just learned. It is not enough for example that there are early warning devices available. The people must know how to access of these early warning devices and more so how to use them.

The people, on the other hand must be ready to take the information and put them into good use. No matter how the government tries to help the people in order to prevent, mitigate and control disasters, if the people are complacent, the government cannot be of much help.

Perhaps the problem of communication should be looked into very seriously. When calamities occur, the barangays must have means to let the outside world know what happened in the barangay.

When even the people who are supposed to be deputized could not be reached, there is something wrong somewhere.

Feeling helpless, anxious about the what is happening to the people in the hinterland barangays of Eastern and Northern Samar, makes one really believe that it is about time indeed, for all the stakeholders to take an intent look, have a serious dialogue, on how to seriously mitigate disasters in the disaster-prone areas of the country. (PIA 8) [top]

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