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PIA Press Release
Friday, January 06, 2012

News Feature: ‘Bagong Bayanihan’ as strategy for disaster management

by Precie Catherine C. Cuarto

QUEZON CITY, Jan. 6 (PIA) -- In light of the upcoming 25th anniversary of the EDSA Revolution, a government official invoked the "bayanihan" spirit as a strategy for helping the victims of tropical storm Sendong, and of reducing and mitigating the effects of other disasters that may visit the country.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio “Sonny” B. Coloma Jr. said government will harness the traditional cooperative spirit of Filipinos in moving communities away from high risk areas. This, he said, is the “New EDSA” or the “Bagong Bayanihan.”

“In the past, people would help physically move a house, which they carried on their shoulders," Coloma said. "That is what we also have to do this time—to offer our shoulders, use our body and strength to relocate our fellowmen."

He said, however, that the new type of bayanihan needed at this time goes beyond the physical act of moving a house. "We also have to stir their thinking that their dwelling place is no longer safe, and would only bring about further hazard,” Coloma explained.

Coloma said most of the affected residents in the Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City used to live "for the longest time" near the river basin which is really dangerous.

Residents refused to move to a safer place despite repeated warning from government. He said that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has given local government units a copy of the geohazard map that showed areas in the country which are prone to disasters.

Coloma expressed appreciation for entities such as local government units, civic organizations, and private corporations, which have been extending financial and recovery support for the calamity survivors.

The local government of Cebu, Coloma said, has lent heavy equipment to Iligan City to clear out the wooden debris and logs scattered on the shoreline of Iligan Bay.

Moreover, Coloma said, evacuees housed in schools have been transferred to other temporary shelters, e.g., tent set-ups, due to the resumption of classes. “After that, (the government) will work on (identifying) permanent shelters,” he said. “We need not only to move them to another house, but also to place them where there are available jobs; where there are well-paved roads.”

Coloma said that the affected residents must also help themselves and believe that the government is doing its best to help them recover and cope with the situation.

Coloma was guest in today's edition of the Communication and News Exchange Forum aired live over PTV-4 sponsored by the Presidential Communications and Operations office and the Philippine Information Agency. (RDA/PCCC/PIA-GHQ)

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