MANILA, February 9 (PIA) -- Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo yesterday said the response extended by local chief executives in the earthquake struck areas in Central and Western Visayas had been satisfactory, but they need improvement in assessing and handling landslide-prone areas in their localities.
In a statement posted on the agency's website, the DILG chief said this is in response to queries on how concerned LCEs fared in reacting to the 6.9 magnitude quake which hit the two regions Monday and reportedly has killed at least 43 persons and scores of others missing, buried in landslides.
“While the response has been satisfactory, we should also factor earthquakes in our disaster preparedness plan. There should be more regular drills and more intensive assessment on landslide prone areas in case of earthquakes,” Robredo said, referring to the local chief executives from Regions 6 and 7.
The government has apparently focused its disaster preparedness plan on the ill-effects of typhoons based on the country’s experience last year when Typhoon Pedring hit hard and flooded Bulacan and Pampanga in October last year and Typhoon Sendong in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan last December.
Robredo on Monday has directed the deployment of Philippine National Police and Bureau of Fire Protection personnel in the earthquake-damaged local government units in Central and Western Visayas to maintain peace and order and conduct search and rescue operations in landslide-struck areas.
The DILG chief, who is vice-chairman for Preparedness under Republic Act 10121 or the “Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010,” is set to conduct a regional disaster preparedness campaign within the first half of 2012 to amplify and instill among local government units and other local stakeholders the importance of disaster awareness and readiness.
In December 2010, he issued DILG memorandum circular 2010-143 defining the roles and strengthening local government capacities, particularly the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils, in mitigating and confronting natural or man-made disasters that would strike in their areas.
“Because of extreme global weather changes and other unforeseen eventualities like earthquakes, flashfloods and landslides, we need to have the LGUs and people’s awareness, knowledge and understanding, acceptance and participation and mobilization in disaster prone-areas,” Robredo said. (JPaunan/DILG/RJB/PIA NCR)