OCD-Caraga intensifies disaster preparedness training

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews / 4 March) – The Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) here in Caraga Region is intensifying trainings on disaster preparedness during the entire summer to hasten the region’s ability to face possible calamities before the start of the rainy season.

“Our assessment and evaluation after Super Typhoon Yolanda and then Tropical Depression Agaton, which brought record-breaking floods to Butuan City and simultaneous landslides all over Caraga, has pushed us to realize that there is still so much to be done in terms of disaster preparedness,” said Liza Mazo, regional director OCD-Caraga.

She said that the series of trainings on disaster preparedness will conducted in coordination with the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC), which Mazo also chairs.

“We need to increase the intensity of our trainings and push it even more to the different Local Government Units (LGUs) all over the region,” she added, saying their lesser budget this year will not hinder them from conducting the trainings.

Mazo stressed the need to push awareness to all sectors and not just those connected with disaster response organizations or with local government units. “Our trainings must also trickle down to the different barangays, and we’re hoping that the provinces and the LGUs will be able to re-echo the series of trainings in their respective communities,” she said.

Mazo pointed out the need to change mindsets as far as disaster management is concerned, especially after typhoons Sendong, Pablo and Yolanda. “Disaster management and preparedness should be a priority and not just a side show discussion,” she explained.

Benjie Lasam, scout coordinator at the Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU), expressed that the lessons learned from the previous disasters should not be ignored.

“The last flood here in Butuan City was something we haven’t seen before,” he said. “This should serve as a warning…. Disaster preparedness should not be taken lightly,” he added.

Lasam said that FSUU has started to train Boy Scouts in high school on disaster risk reduction and management.