Following the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration’s (PAGASA’s) announcement of the start of the rainy season, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) reminds local government units (LGUs) to undertake necessary preparedness measures and their response protocols to ensure the safety of the people during heavy rains, typhoons, flashfloods and landslides amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that the pandemic presents unique challenges going into the rainy season, hence, “LGUs should be more alert and prepared this rainy season and must ensure that all vital aspects of local disaster risk reduction and management (LDRRM) are in place.”
He emphasized that local chief executives (LCEs) are expected to be present, especially during typhoon season. “Patuloy ang ating paalala sa mga LCE, huwag maging missing-in-action (MIA) sa panahon ng kalamidad,” he said.
In November 2020, the DILG issued show-cause orders to 10 LCEs who were MIA or were outside or their respective LGUs during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Rolly.
“Masidhi rin ang ating pagpapaalala sa mga LGU, lalo na sa mga disaster-prone areas na maghanda sa paparating na mga bagyo at iba pang kalamidad para maiwasan ang malubhang epekto ng darating na sama ng panahon,” Año said.
Through a DILG Advisory, Año enjoined the LGUs to implement DILG’s Operation L!sto Protocol for Hydrometeorological Hazards and be guided by DILG Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2020-125 that provides preparedness measures, and other relevant issuances. Operation Listo is an advocacy program of the DILG which aims to strengthen the disaster preparedness of LGUs using the whole-of-government approach.
In the same advisory, Año directed the LCEs to convene Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (LDRRM) Councils and conduct a pre-disaster risk assessment (PDRA) for floods, flash floods, rain-induced landslides, debris flow, storm surge, strong winds, and other hydrometeorological hazards.
He said these PDRAs are vital in the protection of the people who can get victimized by natural calamities during the the rainy season. “Prevention is better than cure, sabi nga. Isa itong [PDRA] mahalagang hakbang tungo sa pagtitiyak ng kaligtasan ng mga mamamayan sa panahon at pagdating ng bagyo.”
He likewise said that structural integrity and capacity of vital facilities, especially those used as evacuation centers’ vaccination centers and multi-purpose buildings, LIGTAS COVID centers; health centers; and, hospitals for COVID-19 patients must be assessed.
The DILG Chief emphasized the conduct of monthly assessment and ensure top shape functionality, in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Regional Offices, of all established Early-Warning Systems (EWS).
LCEs are also reminded to update the Local Contingency Plans for hydrometeorological hazards; coordinate closely with relevant agencies such as PAGASA; ensure unhampered logistics flow and supply chain management; and, enjoin family and household preparedness through the Gabay at Mapa para sa Listong Pamilyang Pilipino.