Aquino orders crafting of disaster preparedness roadmap

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President Benigno Aquino 3rd has ordered members of the Cabinet to craft a disaster preparedness and risk reduction roadmap that will be formally adopted for implementation before the rainy season starts in June.

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Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that Aquino has formed a Cabinet-level task force that will finalize a disaster plan which focus in “highly vulnerable areas” in the country.

Part of the task force are Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, National Climate Change Commission Secretary Mary Ann Lucille Sering and Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo.

“Priority areas of focus are highly vulnerable high-population areas such as the national capital region. How to restart the economy after a major disaster is another priority concern,” he said.

According to Coloma, the President has also directed the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of National Defense and Department of Social Welfare and Development “to complete post-disaster needs assessment reports for all 171 cities and municipalities affected by Yolanda to provide a reliable baseline for the implementation of recovery and rehabilitation efforts.”

“He [Aquino] also ordered the immediate completion of land-use plans that would clearly delineate no-build zones,” he added.

Citing a report from Rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson, Coloma noted the active support of development and sectoral sponsors from among the country’s biggest corporations who have volunteered to spearhead rehabilitation efforts in 24 areas within the calamity zone.

He said that four pilot areas for rehabilitation have been identified and adopted by PARR. These include Tacloban City, being the hardest-hit area, the economic center of Eastern Visayas, and the regional logistical hub; Tanauan, Leyte for its tourism potential and build-back capacity; Guiuan, Eastern Samar, for the high level of private sector interest; and Biliran, for government-led programs.

Meanwhile, the Palace official said that the government is considering the adoption a storm surge advisory (SSA) protocol and the flood advisory (FA) system.

“SSA number 1 indicates a storm surge height of up to two (2) meters; SSA number 2, up to five (5) meters; and SSA number 3, more than five (5) meters. A storm surge advisory is given 48 hours in advance,” Coloma said.

“FA number 1, up to 129 mm rainfall within the next 24 hours; FA number 2, up to 190 mm rainfall; and FA number 3, up to 240 mm rainfall,” he added. CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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