Sherwin Gatchalian

LGUs ready for any disaster eyed

May 7, 2023 PS Jun M. Sarmiento 155 views

SENATOR Win Gatchalian wants local government units (LGUs) to be better equipped in their disaster-preparedness program to mitigate the impact of disasters and calamities due to extreme weather conditions.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has warned of an El Niño from June to August this year which could bring above-normal rainfall at the same time.

Specifically, Gatchalian wants LGUs to have more leeway in implementing projects that would strengthen their disaster preparedness, mitigation, response, and rehabilitation capabilities.

To set this in motion, Gatchalian filed SB No. 939, amending Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.

He pointed out that RA 10121, which transformed LGUs’ calamity funds into the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (LDRRM) fund, already authorized LGUs to utilize their calamity fund for projects and programs that enhance disaster preparedness and mitigate the effects of calamities.

However, there are cases where some LGUs are unable to hire the necessary manpower that would enable them to have adequate response and assistance to affected citizens during disasters, Gatchalian said.

Disaster-mitigation efforts would be greatly improved if LGUs have the necessary funds to provide local infrastructure projects designed to protect their localities against natural disasters, he added.

To address such issues, the proposed measure seeks to use the LDRRM Fund in financing infrastructure projects designed to mitigate the effects of natural disasters, paying for obligations incurred in funding projects related to disaster preparedness and mitigation, and hiring necessary personnel required to implement disaster risk reduction and management programs.

PAGASA has recently issued an El Niño alert and launched a P1.2 billion impact-based forecasting project which aims to provide data that will help authorities in taking the necessary action in response to hazards.