Cebu Volunteers on Disaster Mitigation and Preparedness

A total of 940 community-based volunteers from the municipalities of Borbon, Sogod, Carmen, Catmon and Moalboal had undergone training on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRMT) during the second quarter of the year. This is part of the intensified efforts in Central Visayas in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Sendong and the 6.9 magnitude earthquake in Negros. This aims to equip local communities with skilled and competent personnel who can respond during emergencies.

During the orientation, the participants were educated on various provisions in Republic Act No. 10121 otherwise known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.

This training was organized under a Memorandum of Agreement signed by Usec. Benito T. Ramos, NDRRMC Executive Director and OCD Administrator, and Cebu Governor and Provincial DRRMC Chairperson Gwendolyn Garcia.

The program was conducted in collaboration with Emergency Response Unit Foundation, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police and Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

Socsksargen Conducts Region-wide Consultation

The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) XII held region-wide consultation on Republic Act No. 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, April 18, 2012 in Koronadal City.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Region XII partnered with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) XII in organizing the said event. The consultation was attended by Local Chief Executives (LCEs) who are the designated Chairpersons of Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC) in the provincial, city and municipal levels.

With its theme “Protecting and advancing SOCSKSARGEN’s development through safer, adaptive and disaster-resilient communities”, the consultation aimed to increase awareness on the new law, clarify implementation issues and appreciate its importance in local development planning to ensure progress in the region and resiliency to threats of both human-induced and natural hazards.

The event was graced by Director Ronald I. Flores, Civil Defense Executive Officer of the Office of Civil Defense.

Quirino Trains in Community-based Disaster Risk Reduction

“This is one of the largest group that we have handled”, says Civil Defense Officer Jaye M. Cabauatan during the Capacity Building on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (CBDRRM) Training Workshop last April 12 and 13, at Municipal Gymnasium, Maddela, Quirino.

The training was aimed at raising awareness and enhancing disaster preparedness and response capabilities. The attendees were educated on identifying risks and creating hazard maps of their communities. Disaster risk reduction measures and strategies were discussed by Cabauatan and fellow Civil Defense Officers Philip Labuguen and Jane Airien Torres.

The activity was organized by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) of Cagayan Valley, the Office of Civil Defense Regional Office 2,
and the local government of Maddela through Edwin Besas, Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator.

Zamboanga Students Prepare for Earthquakes

Sirens blared loudly and the students calmly performed ‘duck, cover and hold’ actions under their school tables and chairs for one minute, and then left their classrooms for the school grounds in an orderly manner.

These were the scenes from the simultaneous earthquake drill held on Thursday, March 1, 2012 at the Zamboanga East Central School and Zamboanga West Central School in line with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s (NDRRMC) disaster preparedness program.

Before the drill, personnel from Office of Civil Defense (OCD) briefed the participants on what to do in the event of an actual earthquake. They were asked to duck under their desk, cover their head with their hands or arms, and hold on to the desk to prevent it from moving. Officials from Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) gave a performance grade of 90% to the students and recommended the regular conduct of earthquake drills.

The activity was supported by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council member agencies (Civil Defense Action Group 9, PHIVOLCS, Task Force Zamboanga, the Department of Public Works and Highways, Bureau of Fire Protection and the Philippine National Police).

GOP Heightens Preparedness for Severe Pandemic Disaster Impacts and Other Hazard

MANILA – Government of the Philippines and USAID strengthen efforts in preparedness for severe pandemic disaster impacts and other hazards through capacity-building on business and operations continuity planning in partnership with various government and private sectors.

The PREPARE (Pandemic Preparedness) Project started in the Philippines during a workshop held in July 2011 where for the first time the concept of continuity of operations/business continuity planning and whole-of-society and whole-of-government approaches to disasters resulting from pandemics were introduced to key government line agencies.

According to Office of Civil Defense Administrator and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director, Undersecretary Benito T. Ramos, the workshop was effective in equipping government essential services line agencies with the tools to do staff succession (workforce augmentation) and resources interdependency planning.

“The PREPARE Project is an important component of the Philippine DRRM Plan, which highlights the need to enhance disaster preparedness and response capabilities at all levels,” Ramos said.

He further added that the said undertaking is also geared towards strengthening the capacity of the national government and the LGUs together with partner stakeholders to build the disaster resilience of communities.

“The project is important to have a coherent, comprehensive, integrated, efficient and responsive disaster risk reduction program. Thus, DRRM should be incorporated in development planning at all levels through a whole-of-society approach, which is one of the main characteristics of the PREPARE Project,” Ramos added.

Undersecretary Benito Ramos further cited the National Security Policy of the Philippines 2011-2016 which recognizes that Disasters, Crises and Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs) and Pandemics are among the strategic non-traditional security issues. The Policy stresses that confronting disasters and emergencies cause significant depletion of scarce government financial and material resources, resulting in the interruption of delivery of critical basic services in the face of pandemics and EIDs.

“The country needs to define clear protocols and procedures to ensure the continuity of essential services as well as business operations,” Ramos further stressed.

On the other hand, Dr. Noel Miranda of the PREPARE Team further pointed out that the modern world has not experienced a severe pandemic and no one knows for sure if there would ever be one in the near future.

LGU to hold women’s forum on March 20

More than 200 women from the different municipalities of the province of Iloilo are expected to meet and take part in a Provincial Women’s Forum that will be conducted at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol lobby on March 20, 2012.

Provincial Capitol Human Resource Management and Development Office Officer-in-Charge Alma Ravena said the event will center on the theme of this year’s National Women’s Month celebration “Women Weathering Climate Change: Governance and Accountability, Everyone’s Responsibility”.

Among the resource speakers are Philippine Commission on Women Chaiperson Remedios Rikken and representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources 6 and Office of Civil Defense 6. They will talk on Women’s Empowerment, climate change and disaster preparedness, respectively.

Ravena said invited to attend the gathering are women representatives from the Kalipunan ng Liping Pilipina and other sectors in the province.

Organized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, KALIPI intends to assist women through various activities and programs to further harness their potentials and abilities.

To date, there are now 26 municipalities in the province that have organized their KALIPI based on the record of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office.

The one-day forum is organized by the Iloilo provincial government spearheaded by the PSWDO.

Fukushima conditions simulated for 2012 Balikatan exercise

United States and Filipino troops under this year’s Balikatan exercises will simulate a response for a strong earthquake that is almost similar to the one that devastated Japan last year, military spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos said yesterday.

Burgos said civilian government agencies will join the Balikatan troops, composed of 4,500 American and 2,300 Filipino soldiers, in simulating actions for an 8.1 magnitude quake.

The US Geological Survey placed the strength of the March 11, 2011 quake in Japan at magnitude 9. While Japan prepared for the effects of a devastating earthquake, it did not prepare for a tsunami and a nuclear plant meltdown in Fukushima.

Burgos said the scale of the damage is still evident in northeast Japan and clean-up efforts are taking up huge government funds, in what is known as the world’s most earthquake-prepared country.

He said the disaster response will be drawn up under the Command Post Exercise phase of Balikatan on April 16 to April 26.

Burgos said the Balikatan exercises will focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster response for a very strong earthquake originating from the West Valley Fault (a part of the Valley Fault System formerly known as Marikina Fault).

He said the command post exercise will be held at the headquarters of the AFP’s National Capital Region Command in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. He said the exercises will test the concept plans of the AFP and government agencies, identify the gaps and solutions from previous disasters, and anticipate future calamities.

Burgos said the simulation of the disaster response will also involve National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the Office of Civil Defense, Metro Manila Disaster Coordinating Council, the United States Agency for International Development, United Nations Country Team, United Nations Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, World Food Program, International Federation of the Red Cross and the Philippine Red Cross.

US and Filipino soldiers will be involved in Humanitarian and Civic Assistance – the second phase of Balikatan – by constructing five classrooms and conducting of medical, dental, veterinary and civic programs in Palawan.

Another phase of the exercise, the Cross Training and Field Training Exercises, will involve actual war exercises in various parts of Luzon, including at the West Philippine Sea in Palawan.

The war exercises in Palawan, including gas and oil platform defense and retake, will be conducted within Philippine territory. The disputed Spratly Islands – being claimed by Philippines, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam – is located in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., who represented President Aquino during the commemoration of the Great East Japan Earthquake 2011 held at UP Diliman renewed the Philippines’ offer to help rebuild earthquake-devastated areas in Japan.

The event was also attended by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., UP President Alfredo Pascual and Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe.

Civil Defense checks on disaster preparedness

The regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) has been conducting calamity preparedness check-up in the province.

Rosario Cabrera, regional director of OCD, said she is urging the local government units all over the province to participate in the upcoming simultaneous nationwide earthquake drill on March 1 to make sure that every Filipino is aware of what to do and will be prepared for any eventuality, especially in case of an earthquake.

Cabrera was in the province last week and checked on the conduct of the Risk Reduction Management Trainings in Sagay City, Cadiz City, Manapla and EB Magalona.

“We want to ensure an orderly and systematic conduct of evacuation in the event of an earthquake,” Cabrera said.

She also gave emphasis on Republic Act 101-21, which is about the utilization of the calamity fund and the putting up of the local risk reduction management office from the barangays to the towns and cities and the provinces.

She said it is clearly stated that 70 percent of the calamity fund could be utilized for the pre-disaster activities, drills and purchase of equipment, while the remaining 30 percent could be utilized for the quick response activities.

On March 8, Cabrera is set to come back to the province for an OCD forum to be attended by the mayors of the towns and cities in the province.