‘We need to always be prepared’

December 6, 2023 People's Journal 88 views

Bong Go on recent strong quakes that hit Mindanao, Luzon:

IN the wake of the recent earthquakes in various parts of the country, Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go has highlighted the urgent need for regular earthquake drills and the establishment of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).

In an interview on Tuesday, December 5 after evacuating the Senate Building due to the earthquake, Go emphasized the importance of being prepared through regular drills. “Kailangan magkakaroon po ng regular drill. It’s a wake-up call that we all have to be prepared.”

“Relax lang dapat. Dalawa lang ‘yan, lumabas ka o tago ka sa baba ng mesa mo. Importante, ang safety ng mga empleyado at safety po ng bawat isa sa atin,” Go advised.

He also reiterated his advocacy for the creation of the DDR, a department dedicated to centralizing efforts and streamlining coordination for a more effective response to emergencies. The DDR would play a pivotal role in inter-agency coordination, particularly in recovery and reconstruction efforts post-disaster, as well as in the prepositioning of goods and prompt evacuation of affected populations.

“Isang aspeto na dapat natin mas maisaayos pa ay ang inter-agency coordination. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit matagal ko nang inirerekomenda at paulit-ulit ko nang sinasabi na dapat magkaroon ng isang departamento na may secretary-level na in-charge para mayroong timon na tagapamahala ng preparedness, response, and resilience mechanisms pagdating sa ganitong mga krisis at sakuna,” Go explained.

His advocacy for the DDR is grounded in his commitment to protecting the welfare and lives of Filipinos in the face of frequent natural disasters. The rapidity and frequency of crises in the Philippines highlight the need for swift, efficient, and reliable services to protect the well-being and lives of every Filipino.

In July, the Office of Civil Defense voiced its support for the establishment of the DDR, emphasizing the importance of such an institution in improving operations in managing and responding to future crises.

Furthermore, Go co-sponsored Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2451 or the Ligtas Pinoy Centers bill, primarily sponsored by Senator Jinggoy Estrada.

This bill, based on the Mandatory Evacuation Center bill previously filed by Go, aims to establish permanent, well-equipped evacuation centers nationwide.

On December 2, a severe magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck off the coast of Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur. This disaster, resulting from shallow oblique-thrust faulting along the Philippine Trench, led to two fatalities. More than a thousand aftershocks have been recorded since the Hinatuan earthquake.

A separate event, measuring magnitude 6.8, struck off the coast of Cagwait in Surigao del Sur on December 4.

Following the Mindanao quakes, another tremor was felt across Metro Manila on December 5, with its epicenter in Lubang, Occidental Mindoro. The magnitude 5.9 earthquake led to immediate precautionary measures, including the suspension of railway operations and evacuation of buildings.

The incidents underscore the Philippines’ vulnerability to seismic events and the necessity for efficient disaster management and preparedness.