(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Saturday, 03 June 2023) Southwest Monsoon affecting the country. ACTIVE TROPICAL CYCLONE AS OF 3:00 AM TODAY SEVERE TROPICAL STORM MAWAR {2302} (FORMERLY "BETTY") LOCATION: 945 KM NORTHEAST OF EXTREME NORTHERN LUZON (26.9°N, 128.3°E) MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS: 95 KM/H GUSTINESS: UP TO 145 KM/H MOVEMENT: NORTHEASTWARD AT 25 KM/H FOR. Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due Southwest Monsoon. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Moderate to Strong winds coming from South to Southwest will prevail with Moderate to Rough seas (1.2 to 2.8 meters).

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

PRRD, Bong Go give aid to Taal volcano evacuees; pushes for building better evacuation centers nationwide

PASAY CITY, Jan. 15--President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go visited and checked the situation of more than 1,214 families affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano who are taking refuge in Batangas City on January 14, Tuesday.

Together with other key officials, the President led the discussion on how to address and mitigate issues that the country is currently facing, especially with the possibility of Taal Volcano erupting again anytime soon. The Senator, whom President Duterte mentioned in his short message as someone who “hails from Batangas”, also participated in the relief operations and in the situational briefing.

During their visit, the President led the ceremonial distribution of calamity aid that consisted of food packs and cash assistance for every family from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), hygiene kits from the Department of Health (DOH), and food items from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

In addition to these, livelihood and financial assistance from the government were also turned over by the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the benefit of affected farmers and fisherfolk.

During the briefing, the President ordered a simultaneous construction of “strong” evacuation centers and hopes that the construction will be finished before his term ends.

“I hope that you can finish it before my term ends… I want projects that are doable and can be finished doing my term,” the President added.

Go, on his end, expressed support towards President Duterte’s statement during the situational briefing on building permanent evacuation centers, especially in areas vulnerable to natural disasters.

Seeking to address the vulnerability of the country to the impacts of climate change and natural as well as human-made disasters, Go filed recently a bill providing for mandatory evacuation centers in all cities, provinces and municipalities nationwide.

Known as “An Act Establishing a Mandatory Evacuation Center in all Cities, Provinces and Municipalities, Appropriating Funds Therefor”, Senate Bill (SB) No. 1228 provides for the establishment of an evacuation center in every city, province and municipality throughout the country.

Go said that it is only necessary to build permanent evacuation centers nationwide to ensure the safety of Filipinos in times of natural calamities and other disasters given the geographic location of the country.

“The Philippines is highly vulnerable to natural hazards, attributed primarily to the country’s location. The country is positioned along the so-called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire,’ an area where earthquakes and volcanic activities are more frequent than in any other part of the world,” Go stated in the explanatory note of the proposed measure.

“Hence, it is high time that the State establish evacuation centers in all cities, provinces, and municipalities which will cater to the basic needs of the victims of these disasters and provide them temporary shelters that will guarantee their safety, promote their social wellbeing, and guard their welfare while they recover and rebuild their homes and their lives,” he added.

Hazardous events include typhoons, floods, fires, storm surges, weather disturbances and outbreaks of illness or disease that may cause imminent danger to human life and property.

The bill also provides for the minimum requirements for every evacuation center, such as its location, amenities and accessibility, operation and management, among others.

Under the measure, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), or its successor, will act as the primary lead agency to oversee the implementation of the act should it be passed into a law.

As for its appropriation, the construction and maintenance of evacuation centers under the measure will be sourced from a portion of the general appropriations for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

The bill also states that “Every year thereafter, the amounts necessary for the construction and maintenance of evacuation centers shall be included in the list of programs as part of annual budget in the General Appropriations Act.”

In previous interviews, Go—who often goes around the country to aid victims of natural and human-induced disasters—lamented that the victims are often temporarily relocated in barangay centers, plazas, gymnasiums, or basketball courts, which are not ideal for evacuation or shelter. Worse, some Filipinos do not have evacuation available for them at all, according to the senator.

“Kailangang magpatayo tayo ng mga safe, permanent and dedicated evacuation centers na merong sapat na mga emergency packs, katulad ng blankets, tubig, gamot, flashlight, at ready na relief goods,” he said.

“Obligasyon ng gobyerno na palaging maging handa na tumulong sa oras ng sakuna,” he added.

The senator also said that President Rodrigo Duterte is supportive of the proposed measure, saying “Kagaya ng gusto ni Pangulong Duterte, kailangan nating magpatayo ng safe, permanent at dedicated na evacuation (center) na kumpleto po sa mga kagamitan.”

The senator has also constantly advocated and urged colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives for the establishment of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) through his filed bill, Senate Bill (SB) 205. The bill provides for the creation of a sole department that will deal with the mitigation and operations regarding the effects of disasters and natural calamities.

Go added that the DDR will be “an empowered, highly specialized department with clear unity of command and primarily responsible in ensuring safe, adaptive and disaster-resilient communities.”

The DDR will also have funds that will finance its operations in disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness, response, recovery, rehabilitation and building forward better programs, projects and activities. One of these programs will be the construction of evacuation centers to provide comfortable facilities to those distressed Filipinos affected by such incidents.

During the situational briefing in Batangas City, the President also gave directives to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to assist in road clearing operations due to ash fall. The labor department is also tasked by the President to assist in identifying alternative livelihoods for affected individuals.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) was also ordered by the President to facilitate quick and responsive release of funds, implying that any unnecessary delay is unacceptable. (OSBG)