Feature Story: Awareness on disaster risk reduction management, results in mitigation

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, JULY 27 (PIA) — “It’s a regular working day today and resumption of classes were observed here in the province of Sorsogon“, Manro Jayco, action officer of the Sorsogon Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Council (PDRRMC) said in a call made to the office this morning.

“We are glad that today, people here in Sorsogon are well aware of the effects of calamities not only because of fear but also because of knowledge on how to act immediately , proactively and go for voluntary evacuation without people from government telling them”, Jayco expressed.

With the programs of disaster risk reduction now integrated in schools together with proper dissemination conducted in almost all barangays in the province, there is now a heightened awareness in communities identified as highly vulnerable to do immediate evacuation as an immediate preemptive policy and as an institutionalized protocol in the PDRRMC.

Media assistance and regular communication with updated information provided specially through a link with PAGASA weather daily report, people everyday are provided weather situations. They are even made more aware with hotlines provided so that they can ask and be made aware now of disaster risk reduction strategies.
“People here now in our province are aware on what to do which is the highest form of mitigation”, Jayco explained.

Local chief executives in the province of Sorsogon have also developed a systematized protocol of text messaging and open line communications with concerned agencies, and other entities working on disaster risk reduction and mitigation..

Barangays that are highly vulnerable have posted maps where to go for safety and constant reminders are also provided to all municipal action officers of all Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Councils (MDDRCs) through regular meetings, trainings and now text messaging.
“We have also placed the PDRRMC signages now in vulnerable areas identified .This has been done during the first week of July this year specially on the areas where people have to be extra careful and cautious” Jayco said.

“Because Sorsogon has been identified by almost all global communities working on disaster risk reduction strategies as highly vulnerable it has been among those areas closely watched by international agencies working in DRR specially in the impact of Climate Change. People here and the local government units have been very aware that any weather disturbance reported, they personally and collectively should act based on the preemptive measure instituted by the local government units.

Local government units have spot maps in strategic areas in their barangays of certain risk areas, number of persons most likely to be affected and what should be the corresponding action implemented. All these were gained through the assistance and interventions of international communities provided to the province almost for 6 years now.” Jayco explained.

The radio stations group here also spearheaded by the Kapisanan Ng Mga Broadcasters ng Pilipinas (KBP) together with local television stations have forged commitment with government agencies like the Philippine Information Agency in the immediate information assistance and urgent concerns that need public dissemination.

According to Jose Lopez, officer-in-charge of the Sorsogon Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Office (SPDRMO) Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) also here present in the province like Green Valley, Coastal Core and Face through their manpower and logistics interventions strengthened coordination were also enhanced with vulnerable communities.They have also assisted the province in the continuous trainings, community mapping and established local protocols specially in evacuation procedures.

As early as 5:00 PM last Monday, the Philippine Coastguard here through Lt. JG Ronnie Ong has sent short messaging system (SMS) to partner agencies on the situation of the Roro points and immediate interventions by required agencies were also initiated from communication, road clearings and other needed assistance.

The Department of Public Works and Highways have also maintained safety measures together with SORECO I and II , the electric company service provider here, in the clearing measures specifically the cutting of branches of trees that pose danger to the electric lines in the national and provincial roads as early as June in time for the celebration of Disaster Risk Reduction Month this July.

Basically, today according to Jayco they are glad that the province provided local communities more trainings and learning aside from the installation of certain equipments like rain gauges and other DRR gadgets in areas prone to landslides and flooding like Magallanes, Juban, Donsol and Irosin, ” What is very heartwarming now is the right attitude towards disaster risk reduction prevention and the way the people of Sorsogon became resilient in conditions like natural calamities. In fact this morning as observed even fallen branches of trees were already cleaned from major thorough fares and the garbage trucks were busy loading them, Today here in Sorsogon seemed just an ordinary day”,Jayco stressed. (PIA-SORSOGON)

Original article.

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