Brgy. responders to be empowered to address calamities, says official

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THE Cebu City Government aims to strengthen the capability of emergency responders situated in the barangays following the series of disasters that struck the city in the last few weeks.

Harold Alcontin, operations head of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO), said in a news forum Tuesday, July 12, 2022, that first responders in the villages should be empowered in identifying hazard zones and conducting disaster preparedness programs.

Alcontin made the comment after 20 of the city’s 80 barangays were affected by severe flooding due to heavy rainfall for several days.

Alcontin said they plan to institutionalize the program during Mayor Michael Rama’s first 100 days in office.

The CCDRRMO will coordinate with the barangays in strengthening their Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committee (BDRRMC) by creating village-based responders and crafting programs for disaster prevention, he added.

Drainage problems

Alcontin said they also plan to speak to the Department of Engineering and Public Works and the City Planning Office on improving the city’s drainage systems as a way to address severe flooding.

Alcontin said they noticed that there are only a few remaining informal settlers along riverbanks and plan to relocate those settlers soon.

According to Alcontin, houses and establishments situated along the river have resulted in narrow waterways which resulted in strong water pressure during flooding.

Unified disaster response

Alcontin also mentioned that the CCDRRMO is working on institutionalizing an incident command system that will unify all responders in the city such as the Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police, and BDRRMC.

In this manner, the different government agencies will have a unified approach in every single disaster as coordination is very important, he added.

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