Prepare for flood, quake local government units told

ALL local government units (LGUs) are ordered to tighten their preparations for the  rainy season, not only for floods but also earthquakes which strike without warning.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government  (DILG) said rains and floods can be expected usually in the month of June but  earthquakes could happen anytime.

Learning from the magnitude 6.1 earthquake last April 22 that jolted parts of Luzon which damaged buildings and caused  casualties, the DILG reminded LGUs to do infrastructure audit in their respective areas to ensure public safety.

With this in mind, DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya urged all governors, mayors, and punong barangays not to skip the second quarterly Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drills (NSED) this year on June 20 around 2 p.m.

“LGUs should always observe maximum or extreme preparedness rather than employ a calibrated response not just for typhoons but also for earthquakes and other types of disasters. This approach will save more lives and further reduce the number of casualties,” he said.

Malaya said the simultaneous earthquake drill will test the overall efficiency and usefulness of LGUs’ preparedness, response, and recovery plans.

“Through these scenario-based drills, we will not only test if LGU disaster preparedness plans are working, we will also be able to train our people to cope with hazards and reduce their vulnerability,” he pointed out.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año has issued a memorandum circular stating that LGUs should be able to test coordination and communication mechanism during response operations, and understand the command and control mechanism in emergency and disaster operation at the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (LDRRMCs).

Under the memo, LGUs may coordinate with the field offices of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) for the local earthquake scenario and then evaluate the effectiveness of their contingency plans.

“All LGUs may utilize part of their 70 percent preparedness fund out of the five percent Local DRRM budget for the expenses of conducting earthquake drill,” Año said in the circular.