LGUs reminded of their mandates vs. disasters, climate change

Mainstreaming climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) will remain in place because climate change is happening now.

Department of Interior and Local Government Provincial Director Jerome Gonzales made this statement to the disaster risk reduction and management offices (DRRMOs) of local government units (LGUs) gathered at the Capitol Social Hall for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management and Climate Change Adaptation.

DILG also made this statement as a reminder to the LGUs about the mandates they need to fulfill under Republic Act (RA) 10121 and RA 9729.

RA 10121 is the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management System, providing for the national risk reduction and management framework and institutionalizing the National Risk Reduction and Management Plan.

On the other hand, RA 9729 is the act mainstreaming climate change into government policy formulations, establishing the framework strategy and program on climate change and creating for this purpose the climate change commission.

Mainstreaming under RA 9729 refers to the integration of policies and measures that address climate change into development planning and sectoral decision making policy.

These two national laws provide for structures, systems and policies, plans and data requirements, trainings, service delivery and equipage. Equipage allows the local government unit to identify potential hazards in their communities so only the most appropriate equipment and facilities are purchased by the LGU. LGUs are advised to store data, such as the history of  areas  in the barangays, which once were flooded in previous disasters and are potential risks and danger zones in the area.

Dennis Itom, DRRM-Climate Change Adaptation focal person of DILG Cebu Province, said that the interior department is pushing for LGUs to appoint permanent DRRM officers so they can focus on their jobs and make appropriate plans and decisions. Some DRRMOs have other  jobs  with the  municipal governments and thus, cannot focus on their disaster-related tasks. There are others who need guidance as to the availiment of funds for numerous activities and projects as well as designing programs.

DRRMOs are reminded not to discard old data in the barangay level for they maybe useful. Itom said, “Bahala na’g karaan basta magamit pa (It can still be used regardless of how old it it).”

Any forum on DRRM is never without inputs from the weather bureau and the mines and geo-sciences bureau.

Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) weather specialist Engr. Oscar Tabada urged the public to conserve water not only because of the dry spell but for other reasons, such as firefighting. Two big fires struck Cebu City first week of January 2016.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau Supervising Geologist Elena Lupo urged DRRMOs to take note of landslide-prone areas in the province and barangays to mitigate risks. Fides Palicte and Shayne Carillo, USJR intern