Pam­panga bags ‘kalasag’ award

Sun.Star Pampanga - - FRONT PAGE - BY IAN OCAMPO FLORA Sun.Star Staff Re­porter

ITY OF SAN FER­NANDO— The Pro­vin­cial Gov­ern­ment of Pam­panga, through its Pam­panga Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion Coun­cil (PDRRMC), con­ferred the pres­ti­gious 20th Na­tional Gawad Kalasag award and the hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance award af­ter be­ing eval­u­ated as the best in dis­as­ter risk re­duc­tion work in the en­tire coun­try.

A na­tional se­lec­tion com­mit­tee from from mem­ber-agen­cies of the Na­tional Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion and Man­age­ment Coun­cil chaired by the Of­fice of Civil De­fense con­ducted a se­ries of strin­gent eval­u­a­tion of the PDRRMC’S sys­tems and pro­grams that was de­vel­oped from one of the world’s worst dis­as­ters, Mt. Pi­natubo’s 1991 erup­tions and la­har flows.

De­fense Sec­re­tary Delfin Loren­zana handed the award to Vice-Gover­nor Den­nis “Delta” Pineda, co-chair of the PDRRMC, at the AFP Am­phithe­ater on Tues­day.

The PDRRMC stood out for its best prac­tices in em­pow­er­ing com­mu­ni­ties and the pri­vate sec­tor to be alert, pre­pared and safe from dis­as­ters, PDRRMC ac­tion of­fi­cer An­gelina Blanco ex­plained.

The PDRRMC won the re­gional Gawad Kalasag re­gional Hall of Fame for five con­sec­u­tive years. In 2016, the PDRRMC landed sec­ond in the 18th Na­tional Gawad Kalasag.

“The Na­tional Gawad Kalasag Award rec­og­nizes the lead­er­ship of the PDRRMC headed by the chair­per­son, Gover­nor Lilia Pineda, and vice chair­per­son, Vice-Gover­nor Den­nis Pineda, in the coun­cil’s pro­grams and projects that try to re­duce the risks posed on peo­ple by nat­u­ral hazards such as flood­ing, storm surges, land­slides and earthquakes,” Blanco said.

“Through the PDRRMC, we also see the co­op­er­a­tion of the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment, pub­lic agen­cies, pri­vate or­ga­ni­za­tions, non-gov­ern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions and civil so­ci­ety groups,” she added.

“I want all of us to be safe from calami­ties and dis­as­ters,” is Vice-Gover­nor Pineda’s con­stant motto. He has cham­pi­oned the con­struc­tion of a pro­vin­cial com­mand cen­ter that is linked to coastal and in­land com­mu­ni­ties to make dis­as­ter re­sponses quicker.

The PDRRMC pi­o­neered in Cen­tral Lu­zon the con­struc­tion and es­tab­lish­ment of three three-storey per­ma­nent evac­u­a­tion cen­ters in Barangay San Isidro in Ma­galang town, Barangay Con­cep­cion in Lubao town, and Barangay Sta. Maria in Mex­ico town

It be­gan land bank­ing by buy­ing 10.7 hectares in Barangay San Roque in Mex­ico town, five hectares in San Isidro in Ma­galang town, 42 hectares in Sta. Catalina in Lubao and 10 hectares in Te­la­pay­ong in Arayat town (un­der usufract con­tract with the Na­tional Hous­ing Author­ity) as re­lo­ca­tion sites and pos­si­bly a trad­ing post for the agri­cul­ture sec­tor.

Through col­ored stickers, it tagged houses in re­mote coastal vil­lages to be able to pri­or­i­tize the res­cue of el­derly (orange), per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties and ail­ments (red) and chil­dren (yel­low).

It has or­ga­nized a wide net­work for in­for­ma­tion dis­sem­i­na­tion in dis­as­ter pre­pared­ness, mo­bi­liz­ing 550 pub­lic school teach­ers and 9,760 Nanay (moth­ers) com­mu­nity volunteers who as­sist vil­lage lead­ers.

It is well-equipped for res­cue mis­sions and med­i­cal emer­gen­cies. It has also five back­hoes on barge that deepen creeks and rivers year-round. It has trucks ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing fuel and wa­ter.

It has forged part­ner­ships with the Pam­panga Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try, Filipino-Chi­nese Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try, Philip­pine Red Cross, Pam­panga As­so­ci­a­tion of Wa­ter Dis­tricts, Pam­panga Truck­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, Pam­panga Youth As­so­ci­a­tion, Cen­ter for Emergency Aid and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Inc. (CON­CERN), Pam­panga Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion Net­work and As­so­ci­a­tion of Health Work­ers.

Af­ter do­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance in Tacloban and Sa­mar that bore the wrath of Su­per Typhoon “Yolanda” in Novem­ber 2013, the Pam­panga PDRRMC made res­cue and re­lief mis­sions to flood vic­tims of Typhoon “Lando” in Nueva Ecija in Oc­to­ber 2015, Bataan and Olon­gapo City in 2018.

It con­ducts train­ing and drills in evac­u­a­tion and evac­u­a­tion man­age­ment. It leads man­groves plant­ing in coastal com­mu­ni­ties in or­der to cre­ate a nat­u­ral belt against storm surges from Manila Bay.

Wise use of funds

The Na­tional Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion and Man­age­ment Coun­cil (NDRRMC) also noted that Pam­panga has been cho­sen for its ef­fec­tive uti­liza­tion of the lo­cal dis­as­ter risk re­duc­tion and man­age­ment funds to ad­dress risk-based is­sues, thereby en­sur­ing that re­sponse ac­tions in times of dis­as­ters are in place.

It also rec­og­nized the ef­fi­cient and innovative DRRM sys­tems, pro­cesses and pro­to­cols as demon­strated in its re­port­ing sys­tem, in­ci­dent com­mand sys­tem, con­tin­gency plan­ning, com­mu­ni­ca­tion flow, and re­sponse op­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing ad­vanced col­lapsed struc­ture search and res­cue, ve­hic­u­lar ex­tri­ca­tion, among oth­ers, com­ple­mented with emergency med­i­cal and com­mu­ni­ca­tion equip­ment and fa­cil­i­ties and ap­pro­pri­ate pro­vi­sion of ca­pac­ity build­ing of DRRM per­son­nel to build and con­tin­u­ously en­hance the prov­ince’s pre­pared­ness and re­sponse ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

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