DRRM office sees lack of permanent staff as challenge, offers local officers skills trainings

Lack of permanent staff dedicated to serve in municipal and city disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) offices poses as one of the challenges in disaster management in Cebu.

Cebu Provincial DRRM Officer Baltazar Tribunal Jr. revealed this during the 2nd Local DRRM Officers’ (LDRRMOs) Conference held yesterday at the Legislative Session Hall.

Currently, most of the DRRM offices in towns and cities in Cebu Province only have designated or newly-appointed officers-in-charge.

“We really need people who are committed,” said Tribunalo.

To address the issue, he said a personal discussion with the municipal or town mayor and strict implementation of the law are necessary.

“Adtoon gyod nato, palig-unon gyod. Dili lang ako kung di apil sab ang LDRRMO ug ang team aron atong masulbad kini nga problema (We must go there and strengthen relations; not just by me but also by the LDRRMO and the PDRRMO team so we would be able to solve this problem),” expressed Tribunalo.

PDRRMO convened Cebu LDRRMOs and volunteer groups of rescuers and responders to share best practices and streamline efforts for a better and more unified disaster risk management.

Tribunalo said that the conference would greatly help establish LDRRM offices in all towns and cities in Cebu as this could push all provincial efforts and accomplishments to the local level.

“We have already started. Hopefully by the Governor’s second term, we can further extend and reach the barangay level by promoting the purok system in the entire province,” said Tribunalo.

LDRRMOs agreed to hold and join the Conference quarterly, as suggested by Tribunalo.

Skills and capacity building

Tribunalo assured participants that the PDRRMO can provide the necessary training-workshops and capacity-building for disaster response.

“Our PDRRMO management and staff are rich in skills and experience in terms of DRR-CCA and specialized trainings,” promoted Tribunalo.

Dennis Chong, head of trainings and workshops, shared that only 28 towns have not undergone trainings yet including those who have scheduled trainings already.

From January to March 2015, 539 persons from nine towns have already been trained, including from far-flung towns, such as Daanbantayan, San Francisco and Poro towns in Camotes Island, and Kinatarcan Islet of Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island.

Trainings include basic workshop in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation (DRR-CCA), search and rescue operations in water, mountains and others.

PDRRMO also conducted specialized trainings in water safety in Tudela, lifeguarding in San Francisco and wilderness first-aid in Argao.

Series of orientations and conferences with different public and private partners have also been held to strengthen ties and preparations for incoming disasters.

Internally, PDRRMO also conducts skills training to its staff to further enhance their skills and capacity, shared provincial assistant disaster officer Jenfer Totch de la Cruz.

He added that even those assigned with administrative works are included in disaster response trainings so when disaster comes, everyone is able to respond to affected areas.

“Daghan kaayo tang angay buhaton bisag wala’y bagyo (We have so much to do even without disasters),” said de la Cruz.

“More preparedness measures should be done during peace time. Hopefully, the presence of LDRRMOs can also be seen during these times, not just when disasters strike,” he added.

He shared that by June of this year, PDRRMO targets to completely conduct the basic DRR-CCA trainings for all towns and cities in the province.

He also said that a monitoring team will be dispatched to these towns and cities to evaluate the conducted trainings.

“Whatever assistance you need in trainings, workshops, contingency planning, just call us and we will be there to assist you,” de la Cruz assured LDRRMOs.

PDRRMO now has five administrative officials, six administrative personnel, 12 responders, and eight training officers.