Friday, August 3, 2012

Gov. Espino Cites Top Priorities on Disaster Preparedness

Lingayen- - -In a bid to establish an effective disaster operational preparedness in Pangasinan, Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. came up with a strategic plan to put up various evacuation centers in different parts of the province. This developed as a coordinating conference between the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) led by the Governor and the Pangasinan Philippine National Police headed by PSSupt. Mariano Luis “Sonny” Verzosa, Jr. was held August 2. Gov. Espino said that there are three necessary things to be prioritized to level up the Province’s disaster operational preparedness which include: proper coordination of organizational members, proper positioning of assets or logistics of the police force, and identification of evacuation centers not necessarily located in the affected low-lying municipalities. “We really have to make the necessary preparations and get ready for any eventualities of unexpected calamities,” the Governor said as he added that things that occur today are something that are not normally happening before. Thus, the Governor said, the establishment of district serving evacuation center which will be equipped with anti-venom, anti-rabies and other first-aid medicines, is one combat tool for public safety and a response for disaster risk reduction. Gov Espino instructed that each municipality should identify evacuation centers within their community which shall readily house evacuees during occurrence of disaster. However, for low-lying municipalities like Sta. Barbara and Calasiao, Gov. Espino suggested that evacuation areas should be located and properly coordinated in some high-rise areas of nearby towns or cities within the district. He also urged the police forces in the province to always be ready in all angles in their respective headquarters for a quick response during unprecedented disasters. It can be recalled that the town of Bugallon specifically in Umanday mountainous area was hit by flashfloods last weekend and the same occurrence happened again in August 1. “Flashfloods happened in Portic, Bugallon was due to the deforested mountains that could no longer hold water,” Gov. Espino said. The provincial government has taken initiatives to plant trees to reforest denuded mountain areas in Bugallon as a part of long-time mitigation measures of the province; but still it is not enough to hold waters in the mountains before cascading down into the lowlands. The Governor revealed that the PDRRMC was the first rescue team to reach the affected areas in Bugallon to conduct rescue and relief operations. Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Z. Calimlim, Jr. pointed out that it’s about time that people must get away with traditional directions to effectively establish an effective disaster emergency work-plan. Calimlim also said that close coordination between members of the police force, the local government units and the media must be strengthened to help raise the people’s level of awareness regarding weather conditions and updates. PSSupt Verzosa, on the other hand, vowed to cooperate fully with the PDRRMC and all other member agencies to carry out a strategic plan for Pangasinan’s disaster coordinating plan. Also present during the conference briefing were Provincial Administrator Rafael F. Baraan, PDRRMC Officer-In-Charge Fernando R. De Guzman and various PNP Chiefs of Police. (PIO/Ruby R. Bernardino)

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