COTABATO CITY: The Department of the Interior and Local Government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DILG-ARMM) has launched its disaster preparedness program, dubbed “Oplan Listo.” The program is aimed at improving the region’s immediate response to natural and man-made calamities, including armed conflicts. The orientation campaign will be replicated to cater not only to LGUs but also to civil society organizations, and the youth, including those out-of-school, in the entire region, said DILG-ARMM secretary Anwar Malang. The ARMM is composed of the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Recently, the DILG distributed disaster preparedness manuals, which will serve as guide for LGUs in planning responses to disasters and in formulating disaster preparedness plans. Although ARMM hardly experiences strong typhoons, the region is still very vulnerable to other disasters such as flooding, drought, change in temperature and conflicts, among others. Malang encourages LGUs to do more, beyond what is within the manual depending on the context and conditions. “We advise them to make careful disaster planning based on local hazard and risk maps to help them be hundred percent ready and not entirely dependent on the disaster manual,” he said.