MANILA Local officials should make prompt judgment calls on the suspension of work and classes in their respective areas when bad weather strikes.
In a statement Monday, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. AAo said local chief executives who are chairpersons of their respective local disaster risk reduction and management councils (LDRRMC), should be able to make wise and quick decisions based on the situation on the ground on whether to suspend classes or not.
Local chief executives should always be on top of the situation, especially during typhoons and calamities. They should be actively monitoring the weather condition and the actual situation in their localities. Hindi puwedeng tutulug-tulog, says AAo.
The DILG chief issued the call after its different field offices received numerous feedback and complaints from private individuals on the late suspension of classes by some local government units when Tropical Depression Henry poured heavy rain over Luzon in mid-July.
By the time the announcements were made, the students were already in school and had to tread through gutter and knee levels of unsanitary flood water to go back home, says AAo.
The Department of Education (DepEd) earlier turned down calls to take back the authority over class suspension announcements, with Education Secretary Leonor Briones asserting that it is LGUs which should have such authority.
A 2012 MalacaAang directive, Executive Order No. 66, gives local chief executives, as LDRRMC chairs, the power to cancel or suspend classes and work in government.
Erring officials who are too lazy to wake up to suspend classes even though PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and has declared its warning signals may be charged with gross neglect of duty, AAo said.
We are putting minors at risk when we delay class suspensions. We must not wait for the flood levels to become critical before making the announcements, he adds.
Given the country's vulnerability to storms, it's better for us to ensure the safety of our constituents in advance than to be sorry when it's too late, says AAo.
The DILG has furnished Operation Listo manuals for governors and mayors that contain a checklist on the early preparedness actions that are expected from them during such calamities. (PR)
Source: Philippine News Agency