To ensure that village officials in the province quickly respond during early hours of a disaster, North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco ordered on Monday the reactivation of all Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (BDRRMC) in the province.
I want officials of each barangay to identify an open space that residents can use as temporary relocation site during disaster occurrences like what we have experienced, Catamco said in her directive, a copy of which was furnished to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) provincial director Ali Abdullah.
Earlier, Catamco welcomed DILG officials from Region 12, headed by Director Josephine Cabrido-Leysa, who paid a courtesy call to her over the weekend.
Catamco said it was not clear to her why the BDRRMCs were not functioning until, and even after, the earthquakes.
Following the series of earthquakes that rocked North Cotabato last year, the governor noted that families fled their communities and moved to safer grounds outside their villages.
After visiting displaced families, Catamco said she learned that village officials were not prepared for the disaster or have not taken steps to ensure that their constituents are not unnecessarily displaced.
If they stay in a common open space within the barangay, (they) are easier to monitor, assist in terms of food and non-food supplies, and easier to document, she said.
The governor has asked experts from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to identify the high-risk areas, no-build zones and whether there are still areas that are habitable within the village.
Due to inactive village responders, Catamco lamented that the provincial rehabilitation and recovery programs have been delayed due to lack of or incomplete data from the town of Makilala, the hardest-hit town during the October 29 and 31, 2019 earthquakes.
A consolidated report of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council showed that there were 33,784 families affected by the series of strong earthquakes last year in the province. Of this number, 4,613 families are still in evacuation centers and 14,237 families living outside evacuation centers.
A total of 16,264 homes were partially-damaged and 12,235 houses were totally damaged in North Cotabato's nine towns and Kidapawan City.
Source: Philippines News Agency