There is no such thing as “tolerated casualty” and there should not be any casualty during calamities such as Super Typhoon Yolanda.
Gov. Joey Salceda of Albay made this statement during the media
workshop of the Climate Change Consciousness Week at SMX Convention Center on Tuesday.
“The state’s involvement is for the local government to do its duty for a zero casualty even when you use up your resources,” Salceda stressed.
When asked by 40 journalists from Luzon who attended the media workshop spearheaded by the Philippine Network of Environmental Journalists (PNEJ) on what to do when people refuse to be evacuated, Salceda replied “ I would force them to evacuate.”
He also emphasized that the evacuation centers “must be a place where you transfer people from an unsafe place to a safe place.”
“You do not transfer people from unsafe place to another unsafe place. It is always best to simply move them to a higher ground,” Salceda said, criticizing disaster groups doing exactly the opposite.
He said there is a need to “inject more funds to the disaster groups and to local governments while giving them more autonomy.”
“When preparing for any disaster, what is needed is capacity building and development as well as the conduct of drilling among local disaster groups in the local government,” Salceda explained.
He said there should also be “automatic access” to resources because “responsibilities must come with [resources.]”
However, Salceda also lamented the present situation where the wrong agency manages the resources.
He said “relief should be ready and available before the disaster comes and not the other way around.”
Salceda said to prevent more damages in the agriculture sector, whatever is there for the farmers to harvest must be harvested, gale warning should be issued and fisherfolks must be barred from fishing. However, “they should be given their rice.”
Meanwhile, Salceda said he is offering and willing to host evacuees in Albay on the condition that the Department of Social Welfare and Development feeds them.
Leander C. Domingo