Capitol readies for El Niño

Recognizing the need for emergency preparedness for El Niño’s effects, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) approved a measure that aims to prepare for the impact of the prolonged hot weather.

This, as the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) turned over to the management of the Cebu Provincial Government a P34-million evacuation center built in a Province-owned lot in Sitio Panabang, Barangay Apas, Cebu City.

Upon the recommendation and motion of PDRRM officer Baltazar Tribunalo, the council chaired by Gov. Hilario P. Davide III, during its first quarter meeting approved the implementation of the El Niño preparedness measure. The motion was seconded by Catherine Ruiz of Kaabag sa Sugbo.

Tribunalo’s motion came after the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) reported that this warming condition has been noticed as early as in the fourth quarter of 2018 and it may reach its peak this summer.

Complementary to Tribunalo’s move, Provincial Budget officer Danny Rodas moved to include preparedness in the disaster recovery, which was approved by the council, after it was seconded by Vice Gov. Agnes A. Magpale.

In another resolution, Tribunalo sought the council’s approval to reprogram the PDRRMO’s unspent P58.266 million trust fund for 2018.

The motion, which was seconded by Ruiz, got the council’s nod, making the total amount of the PDRRMO’s budget for this year to P255.266 million.

During the council meeting, PDRRMO assistant head Totch de la Cruz presented the office’s 2018 accomplishment report, which covered four areas, namely, disaster prevention and mitigation, disaster preparedness, recovery and rehabilitation, and emergency response.

Under disaster prevention and mitigation, De la Cruz provided updates on Cebu’s disaster resilient evacuation centers in clustered municipalities throughout the province, including the island municipalities in Camotes and Bantayan.

The PDRRMO turned over an evacuation center to the local government unit of Sibonga last Feb. 6, 2019.

Another evacuation center is being constructed in Sta. Fe town, while the project for Pilar town will soon be up for bidding. In Carmen town, a pre-qualification stage for bidders has been opened for an evacuation center project in the area.

De la Cruz said that a total of P31.9 million, with P18.5 million of this was set aside in 2018, while another P13.4 million was allocated for 2019 for the construction of evacuation centers.

After the meeting, Davide and Magpale, together with Assistant Regional Director Ver Niel Balaba of the Office of Civil Defense and Engr. Faustino de la Cruz Jr. of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7, led the turnover of the evacuation center in Sitio Panabang.

Balaba and de la Cruz handed over to the governor and the vice governor the ceremonial key of the center, which will be managed by the Cebu Provincial Government.

The evacuation center is composed of eight facilities with different functions. It has a two-storey accommodation building, three-storey laundry building with tank and dripping area, comfort and shower rooms for male and another one for female, infirmary building, pump room facility, generator set facility and a three-section material recovery facility.

Within its perimeter fence is a water cistern that stores collected rainwater.

A ribbon-cutting was held that marked the official opening of the evacuation center, which was funded by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. It sits on a 2,035-square-meter lot owned by the Province.

“Kanunay natong hinumduman nga ang labing tukmang oras sa pagpangandam sa bisan unsang matang sa katalagman mao ang panahon nga wa pa kini moabot,” said Davide, adding that environment protection and disaster management are among the top priorities of his and Magpale’s administration.

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