OCD-12 wants broad disaster management contingency plan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/13 January) — The Office of Civil Defense in Region 12 is pushing for the development of a comprehensive contingency plan that will effectively address the impact of major floods that might affect the region in the coming months.

Jerome Barranco, OCD Region 12 assistant director, said Monday such move was an offshoot of a series of workshops facilitated by the agency last year based for disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) coordinators of local government units (LGUs) and other stakeholders in the region.

During the workshops, he said the participating LGUs collectively identified flooding as the biggest threat so far in terms of natural disasters that could potentially hit the area.

“It (flooding) was identified as the worst case (disaster) scenario that could affect the region in the wake of the prevailing erratic weather patterns,” he said in a radio interview.

Barranco said the agency is now working on the draft of the regional flood contingency plan based on the inputs given by the LGUs during the workshops.

He said they are currently evaluating several disaster incidents that hit the country last year, among them super typhoon Yolanda in November, for additional inputs to the contingency plan.

“We’re drawing lessons from typhoon Yolanda and other major incidents for their integration later on into our plan,” he said.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Region 12 had identified a total of 340 barangays in the region as prone to severe flooding, especially during the rainy season.

Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Constancio Paye Jr., MGB Region 12 director, said 141 of these villages are located in North Cotabato, 72 in Sultan Kudarat, 69 in South Cotabato, 20 in Sarangani, 38 in Cotabato City and seven in this city.

He said the identified barangays are considered highly flood-prone and “inhabitable during flooding.”

The MGB official said such assessment was based on the results of the detailed geo-hazard mapping conducted by the agency in the entire region.

Meantime, aside from the formulation of the regional flood contingency plan, Barranco said they will continue with their capacity-building initiatives this year for LGUs in the region.

He said the program will focus on the training of more local DRRM personnel on incident command system, contingency planning for emergency situations, rapid damage assessment and need analysis and simulation exercises.

“We’re targeting to train and equip as many LGU personnel on these aspects,” he added. (MindaNews)