By Venus May Sarmiento
DAGUPAN CITY – The Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) of Region I convened here on May 26 and tackled the management plans of its member-agencies in the event of disasters like typhoon, flood and earthquake.
RPOC Chair and Dagupan City Mayor Belen Fernandez said the council had to come up with a realistic approach on disaster preparedness to be able to inform local officials on the proper things to do.
“We have our measures in-placed but we want to know what kind of preparedness is needed. We might be prepared for a one meter high tsunami but, God forbid, the impending disaster might reach four meters high. This we have to know and be prepared for,” Fernandez said during the RPOC meeting held at the Stadia.
As the region and the province of Pangasinan is home to a hydro-power plant, the council asked representatives of the San Roque Power Corporation (SRPC) on the multi-billion plant’s preparedness in case of a high magnitude quake.
Engr. Milania Abubo of the Dam Monitoring Unit of SRPC, said the corporation follows an emergency action plan and intense dam monitoring after an earthquake.
Abubo said the design and construction of the San Roque Dam was carefully studied and designed to withstand a strong earthquake. This claim, however, was refuted by Minda Jusay of Ilocos Norte saying the geologic study was made with no water inside the dam that tends to push the concrete walls during an actual earthquake.
Tom Valdez, vice-president of SRPC’S corporate social responsibility division, made a five- minute presentation to reiterate that flood water in Dagupan City during a typhoon is not caused by the San Roque Dam as water from the dam flow through the Agno River System.
Flood -water flow in Dagupan City is from the Pantal -Sinucalan river, he explained.
The National Power Corporation, as presented by Engr. Valeriano Baro, Jr., said NPC’s Flood Forecasting and Warning System Unit announces and disseminates information to the public about an impending dam water release.
The council asked the NPC to present in its next meeting a clear picture as to who calls the shot as far as the opening of the spillway in case the water in the reservoir exceeds critical level is concerned.
Baro said the authority to contact for information in case of disasters related to NPC is officer-in-charge Virgilio Garcia at landline number (075) 653-3888.
When Fernandez, however, asked about the existence of a fault line in San Manuel town where the San Roque Dam is located, the SRPC reps were quick to reply that it is the Philippine Volcanology and Seismology (PhiVolcs) Office that can answer the query.
Fernandez expressed the need for the presence of PhiVolcs representatives in the council’s next meeting.
Aside from disaster risk management, the council also tackled insurgency problems in the towns of Cervantes and Sta. Cruz in Ilocos Sur province and the convergence action plan of the Philippine National Police addressing insurgency problems. (see related story).
The council also moved and approved the addition of other private sectors to be equally represented in the council in addition to the existing 40 members of the council composed mostly of representatives from various government agencies. (VHS/PIA-1, Pangasinan)