ARMM to set up 24/7 emergency ops center

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 8 Jan) – If Metro Manila has MMDA and Davao City has Call 911, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will be having the ARMM-HEART emergency center.

Atty. Laisa Alamia, ARMM executive secretary, said in a press briefing today that the state-of-the-art Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (HEART) operation center will be established this year at the region’s seat in Cotabato City.

The operation center will be functioning 24/7, monitoring weather, disasters and any eventualities that may affect the lives of the people, with substations or satellite offices to be established in five provinces.

The P100-million budget will be coming from the General Appropriations Act allocated for the region this year, Alamia said.

Like the MMDA or Call 911, the command center will have sets of computers and monitors, CCTVs, radio communication equipment, rescue vehicles and equipment, office supplies and other related needs, she added.

A new building with a 500-square-meter space will be built at the back of now present ARMM-HEART building (previously NEDA 12) still inside ARMM Complex through the help of DPWH-ARMM for the construction.

“We aim to strengthen relationship with our local disaster risk management officers stationed in different localities,” Alamia said, adding that the field offices will be provided with necessary equipment, too.

She said the operation center will be the nerve center of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s (RDRRMC) operations.

The ARMM-HEART 24/7 operation center will primarily cater to the constituents of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi affected by armed conflict and natural disasters.

In 2014, the response team delivered a total of about 18,000 food packs to flood victims and catered to 4,234 families affected by armed conflicts in the provinces of Maguindanao, Tawi-tawi, Sulu and Basilan, Alamia said.

She said the “team also monitored the deportees from Sabah, Malaysia and conducted several trainings to capacitate the personnel and rescue team.”

ARMM-HEART was among the groups that immediately responded to the relief and emergency needs of families affected by Typhoon Yolanda in Tolosa, Leyte and by the Zamboanga siege in 2013.

The team, Alamia said, continues to strengthen its partnership with non-government organizations that include different humanitarian agencies of the United Nations and civil society organizations.

She is urging local government units in the region to be the frontline emergency response teams in their respective areas.