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Luzon launches various projects for Disaster Consciousness Month

In observance of the National Disaster Consciousness Month, the local governments, private sector, and other stakeholders launched various activities and campaigns last week.

With this year’s theme “Ligtas na Bayan, Maunlad na Pamayanan,” campaigns were launched from the province of Bulacan, which is considered hardest-hit by recent floods, to the province of Cavite, which is the most populated province in the Philippines.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado of Malolos, Bulacan has launched the project “Ang Bote Mo, Kaligtasan Ko,” which intends to protect the environment by minimizing plastic wastes, particularly  drinking bottles.

Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) Executive Officer Felicisima Mungcal explained that the plastic bottle-for-raffle stub project was also designed to beef up the disaster preparedness of the provincial capitol employees and the non-government personnel in rescue teams. Through the provincial government’s livelihood projects, the collected plastic bottles shall be recycled into various rescue equipments and tools. Prizes at stake in the raffle draw on July 30 are survival kits, including a life vest, splint, thermal blanket, floatation device, compass, flashlight, knife, whistle, and lighter.

Cavite, with approximately 3.6 million residents, meanwhile, has a disaster awareness campaign that aims to prepare their constituents for natural calamities like earthquakes and typhoons, which can trigger floods and landslides.

In General Trias, an earthquake drill was conducted recently at St. Francis of Assisi Parochial School, which is situated close to the municipal hall. A catastrophe-preparedness information drive was also conducted in 33 barangays of the municipality.

Mayor Bambol Tolentino of Tagaytay City, a prime tourist destination in the country, also recently ordered the demolition of around 15 shanties at Matang Tubig Watershed area. Dwellings in said area were vulnerable to calamities and posed danger to families there. He gave cash assistance ranging from P20,000 to P50,000 to the affected families for their transfer back to their places of origin.

On the other hand, local officials of Pangasinan province, spearheaded by the Vice Governor, Jose Ferdinand Z. Calimlim Jr., had a presentation of newly acquired search and rescue equipment such as 10 portable searchlights, three portable stretchers, 40 safety vests, two chainsaws, two electric generator sets, four megaphones, five shovels, two machetes, eight handheld radios with batteries and base-antenna, two waterproof tents,  three pick mattocks, a rigid hull inflatable rubber boat with a trailer and a 40HP outboard motor with complete accessories. .

Officer-in-Charge Fernando de Guzman of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) in Pangasinan enumerated the activities lined up for the disaster consciousness month: a public information dissemination drive; a massive clean-up drive of rivers and waterways in the province; mangrove and tree planting activities; and various tsunami drills.

During the rainy and stormy season in the country, Luzon, particularly its northern provinces, is normally burdened by heavy rains, which result to floods, landslides, and power outages.

Recently, a tropical storm locally named ‘Enteng’ briefly entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) yesterday, July 17, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa). However, it did not affect any provinces because of its relative distance from the country which is at more than 1,000 kilometers east of Batanes.

For the month of June, there were approximately five earthquakes, which have recorded more than 4.0 in magnitude.

The month of July was recognized as the National Disaster Consciousness Month (NDCM) on August 10, 1999 by the Executive Order No.137.  Led by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the observance intends to enhance the preparedness of every Filipino to ensure safety during calamities.