Local governments to conduct early preparations for disasters

QUEZON CITY, Oct. 15 -- With the increasing frequency and severity of disasters which the country has experienced in the past years, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is urging all local chief executives (LCEs) to conduct early preparedness actions to reduce disaster risks in their communities.

In a directive issued to all provincial governors, city and municipal mayors, including punong barangays, DILG Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento said preparedness actions include: creating necessary systems and structures, institutionalizing policies and plans, building competencies, and prepositioning equipment and supplies.

“Ngayon pa lang ay dapat handa na tayo sa anumang sakuna at sa panganib na dala nito,” Sarmiento, who is the also the vice chair for disaster preparedness of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said.

He said an Incident Command System (ICS) should be established in every local government unit (LGU) which is to be activated in response to disasters, and LGUs should hire one Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) officer and three DRRM staff, including Barangay DRRM committees.

The DILG Secretary said local execs should also prepare, review and update their contingency plans which include the following:

- activation of early warning system
- activation of pre-designated evacuation center/s
- evacuation routes/map
- search and rescue
- emergency response
- medical and counseling services
- distribution of relief goods, and
- evacuation center management

He also urged LGUs to review their protocols and policies and issue an executive order resolution or pass an ordinance to institutionalize pre-emptive and forced evacuation when a disaster or emergency has been declared and danger of loss of lives is imminent.

“Kailangan din ang Community-Based DRRM training, simulation exercises at evacuation drills sa bawat barangay upang masanay sa paghahanda sa sakuna maging hanggang sa ng mga tahanan o household level,” he said.

More importantly, Sarmiento urged LCEs to stockpile basic emergency equipment and supplies, purchase and maintain water level and rain gauge stations, and ensure the installation of signages and markers in identified hazard and danger zones in coordination with concerned agencies.

In order to effectively implement the above early preparedness actions, he said LGUs may utilize 70 percent of their Local DRRM Fund pursuant to a NDRRMC, DBM, and DILG joint memo circular issued earlier on the allocation and use of the DRRM fund.

Sarmiento further advised the LGUs to use the Operation Listo Manuals published by the DILG namely, “Early Preparations for Mayors and Critical Preparations for Mayors” as well as “Checklist for MLGOOs, COPs, and FMs” for further guidance on the minimum actions to do before, during and after a typhoon. (DILG)


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