• Olongapo prepares for ‘Yolanda’-like scenario


    Olongapo City: The mayor of this city, after visiting calamity-stricken Tacloban City, now seeks the formulation of a risk reduction plan for the city in case of a “Yolanda-like” scenario.

    Mayor Rolen Paulino visited Tacloban City three weeks after Super Typhoon Yolanda wrought unprecedented damages and loss of lives in the area. He went to the said city with Olongapo City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (OCDRRMO) head Angie Layug and City Councilor Jong Cortez to hand over financial help to the local government there.

    “We decided to personally hand-over the check to the local government and assess the damage of Yolanda, Olongapo City is also close to the ocean that is why we want to see if this kind of storm surge can affect the city too,” Paulino said.

    Although the assessment has not been finished, Layug said that Olongapo and Tacloban is almost the same, Tacloban has three islands and an airport at the outskirts of the city proper. Olongapo, on the other hand, has one island and two ports within its jurisdiction.

    “We will further study the pictures, videos and information we got during our trip and evaluate it from there,” Layug added.

    Robin Carlo Eleponnga, assistant chief of the OCDRRMO Research and Planning Division, said, “Being successful in disaster risk reduction and management means doing your homework and being equipped to respond to any disaster. It means operating swiftly, while also being smart.”

    Layug, for her part, noted, “All the suggestions, inputs from the civil defense, local government, businessmen and the national office has already been taken into consideration, now we just have to streamline the suggestion and develop it into something that we think would work for the city.”

    Paulino personally handed over to Gov. Leopoldo Petilla of Leyte a check for P200,000.

    Paulino and his team also traveled to the municipality of Basey in Leyte which was also severely devastated by Yolanda. He also handed a check for P149,762 to Mayor Junji Ponferrada of Basey.

    The money came from several donations from the city. The local government of Olongapo City gave P100,000 while employees of the said local government unit gave P157,700. Another P79,537.25 came from pledges during Olongapo City’s Kalye Kasihayan, which was organized to revitalize its famous Magsaysay Avenue, while P13,525.25 was gathered from donation boxes.

    Paulino also visited the municipality of Palo and the volunteers from the city, who were stationed at the Philippine Red Cross outpost at the Leyte Park Resort Hotel.

    “I personally thanked the volunteers who were in Tacloban, they were there days after Yolanda struck and they are still there when we left, it only goes to show that it is in the blood of every Olongapeño to help others, I am so very proud of them,” Paulino said.

    The trip was scheduled before the formulation of Olongapo City’s Risk Reduction Management Plan and was organized by the OCDRRMO in coordination with the Office of Civil Defense-Region 3, 17 barangays of the city and the business sector.


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    1. More power to Mayor Paulino for a pro active approach. As a former US service member and resident of Olongapo, the city has been visited by a calamity like that of Yolanda in 1991, during the Pinatubo eruption. I happened to live there at that time and the city was ill prepared, and even ignored the early warning of the US vulcanologist that were sent there with all their sophisticated equipment to monitor Pinatubo activity. Thank God for the resiliency of the people, Olongapo came back to life.