Malaybalay puts up P29.8M risk reduction, management fund

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/14 June) – The local government of Malaybalay has allotted P29.8 million for the city’s disaster risk reduction and management fund, a portion of which would be used to fund training and operation of a 24-member volunteer rescue team.

City Administrator Herculano Ronolo said 44 percent, or about P13 million, of the budget will go to capital outlay.

“Climate change has exposed the city to more risks to disasters. We have to prepare for it,” he said.

Close to half of the capital outlay budget will be used to buy additional fire trucks at P5.5 million. The city also intends to buy rescue vehicles (P3 million), ambulance (P2 million) and mini-backhoe (P2.5 million).

The rest will go to maintenance and other operating expenses, which compose P16.8 million of the budget.

About P9 million will be for “disaster quick response.”

But the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council did not specify the details in its 2011 plan.

The other half of the operating expenses, P7.873 million, is allotted for disaster preparedness. The budget covers prevention, response, mitigation, rehabilitation, and other expenses, including those for training and seminars.

Mayor Ignacio W. Zubiri announced during the city government’s convocation program Monday that part of the budget will be used to train the city’s volunteer rescue team to work with the city’s existing emergency response unit.

Zubiri told city government officials and employees that the Malaybalay’s present exposure to disaster instances is a result of the clearing of the city’s forests in search for livelihood.

He cited about 25 big and small landslides in the city’s Upper Pulangi district.

Zubiri said he asked the City Environment and Natural Resources Office to come up with a plan how farmers in the area can keep the trees and plant new ones in their upland farms.

As part of the 2011 disaster risk reduction and management fund of P29.8 million, the city government is funding the formation of the 24-member volunteer response team. It will be composed of volunteer members of Kabalikat and Karancho civic organizations. Training of the unit on water safety and rescue, mountain rescue, structure collapse and landslides will start this month.

Ronolo said crucial at the moment is the creation of the rescue team’s office. He said some sectors suggested that the city government will just designate an official and three-member staff from existing personnel. But he said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Law mandates a separate office with its own personnel. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)