CITY of SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga: Pampanga has earned the top place in the national Gawad Kalasag (GK) award for three consecutive years, including 2017, catapulting it to the Hall of Fame in the regional level. Angie Blanco, chief of the Pampanga Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDDRMC), said the the GK national award recognizes the leadership of Gov. Lilia Pineda and Vice Gov Dennis Pineda in programs and projects that try to reduce the risks posed to people by flooding, storm surges, landslides and earthquakes. “Through the PDRRMC, we also see the cooperation of the provincial government, public agencies, private organizations, non-government organizations and civil society groups,” Blanco said. Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive director and civil defense administrator, led the awarding rites at the Philippine International Convention Center on June 8. Pampanga PDRRMC pioneered in Central Luzon the construction and establishment of a three-story permanent evacuation center in Barangay San Isidro in Magalang town. It also converted two technology centers in Porac and Floridablanca towns into evacuation centers. The Pampanga PDRRMC began land banking by buying 10 hectares in Barangay Santa Maria in Mexico town as a relocation site and possibly a trading post for the agriculture sector. It has organized a wide network for information dissemination in disaster preparedness, mobilizing 550 public school teachers and 9,000 nanay (mothers) as community volunteers who assist village leaders. The Pampanga PDRRMC iswell-equipped for rescue missions and medical emergencies. It has also five backhoes that deepen creeks and rivers and trucks for delivering fuel and water. After conducting humanitarian assistance in Tacloban and Samar for super Typhoon Yolanda victims in November 2013, the Pampanga PDRRMC conducted rescue and relief missions among flood victims of Typhoon Lando in Nueva Ecija in October 2015. It conducts training and drills on evacuation and evacuation management and leads mangrove-planting in coastal communities in order to create a natural belt against storm surges from Manila Bay.

    Froilan Magtoto


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