Wednesday, July 4, 2007

OCD-7: 80% of local disaster councils in Central Visayas already formed

Cebu City (4 July) -- As the nation celebrates July as "National Disaster Consciousness Month," about 80 percent of the disaster coordinating councils from the province down to the city, municipal and to the barangay level has already been organized.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD-7) Regional Director Angel Gaviola in this morning's PIA Kapihan that tackled on disaster preparedness said local disaster councils have been formed but cannot say whether these are functional.

Gaviola said it is the responsibility of the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG-7) to check whether these local disaster councils are operational.

The OCD-7 acts as the vice-chair of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council in Central Visayas chaired by the Philippine National Police (PNP-7).

Gaviola however, said provincial, city and municipal disaster councils in the region are quite active but the major problem lies in the barangay level.

The RDCC, an inter-agency government body, offers various services from search and rescue operations to relief and rehabilitation but only in augmentation of the direct services provided by respective local government units (LGUs) in their areas of jurisdiction.

Gaviola told reporters to check on LGUs what they are doing relative to disaster preparedness especially with the onset of the rainy season where typhoons, flooding and landslides often occur.

For the past two years, the RDCC has provided seminars and trainings to LGUs that include disaster risk management, incident command system training, capability building and skills enhancement.

Central Visayas is lucky as incidence of disaster is not that frequent with the worst disaster recorded back in 1990 where Typhoon Ruping caused almost a week of blackout in Cebu and water supply was a problem. Damages of crops and houses were also massive, according to Gaviola.

Gaviola said the celebration of Disaster Consciousness Month every July has been observed for the past seven years aimed at raising the level of public awareness on disaster preparedness. (PIA-Cebu/FCR)

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