Aquino coordinates gov't efforts for effective disaster response due to heavy downpour

August 7, 2012 10:04 pm 

MANILA, Aug. 7 — Aquino coordinates government efforts for effective disaster response due to heavy downpour.

Amidst heavy downpour and flooding in Metro Manila, President Benigno S. Aquino III met heads of several departments and government agencies Tuesday to assess the damage brought about by the massive flooding in the country and coordinate government rescue efforts.

In a televised press conference after meeting concerned agencies at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) office in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, the President said he had issued several instructions as a response to the calamity.

The President said one of his instructions was to ensure that rescue operations, being spearheaded by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), is done in a centralized way to avoid duplication of rescue efforts.

The MMDA is acting as the central body overseeing the rescue efforts to maximize the government response to the disaster.

“Sa DOST continuous ang kanilang mga update, anong aasahan ng taumbayan in terms of water level at the affected areas,” the President said with regards to his instruction to the Department of Science and Technology.

“In case na magkaproblema tayo dito sa mga cellphones and other means of communication tsinek ko na rin ang mga facilities ng PNP radio network saka ang AFP… yung tinatawag na long line that can keep us in touch everywhere,” he said as he assured the public about good lines of communication in the country.

The President also said he had instructed the Philippine Air Force to do an inventory of disaster areas as soon as the weather permits to identify people or communities needing rescue or government help. This is to make sure that those areas not accessible to boats are reached and flood victims are rescued.

“Pinapa-monitor natin sa DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) ang availability ng supplies na ginagamit nila para i-repack into relief goods. Kung merong disruption dun sa supplies abisuhan agad yung DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) so the DTI can do appropriate actions kung sakaling may nagho-hoard o nagtatago etc,” the President said.

“Everybody is supposed to do something what they are supposed to do and improving what they are supposed to do,” he said.

At the same time, the President appealed to the media and to the public not to sow confusion by disseminating unverified information about the current flooding.

Asked by reporters what aspects of government response must be improved, the President said there was a need to raise awareness with regards to the color coding scheme being used by the government to inform the people about disasters.

Technical terms must be understood by the public and these must be translated so ordinary people could understand those terms, the President said.

Color coding being flashed on television or broadcast over radio must be understood by the people so they could easily respond to disaster warnings from government agencies, the President noted.

Aside from disseminating information to the public there is also the need for the government to improve structural requirements for a more effective disaster response in the country, the President added.

As of noontime Tuesday, the government pegged the damage of the flooding to about P411 million. The amount covers all sectors. (PNA) RMA/PCOO/as/utb

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