Editorial: Being prepared

Strong earthquakes have been shaking Davao City for a while now.

On Saturday, the city was jolted by a magnitude 5 tremor that didn’t leave too much damage other than a few skipping heartbeats, cracked floors, and spilled-over store shelves. It was nothing compared to the 6.4 magnitude quake in Davao Oriental that left that province shell-shocked.

It should be noted, however, that the Commission on Audit flagged the local government on the skimpy utilization of the P725.62 million available Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Funds (LDRRMF) when it only spent P171.98 in 2017. The non-use reportedly deprived constituents, particularly those living in vulnerable areas, of resiliency measures for “man-made and natural calamities.”

There was also the report by the Central 911 last year that 20% of the 182 barangays have no disaster risk reduction and mitigation plans in place due mainly to the lack of interest by the barangay leaders themselves.

With that said, Davao City is as prepared as any local government could be in dealing with natural disasters. Most barangay functionaries have their own rescue units that are capable of handling low-intensity emergencies. The Central 911 is equipped with all the bells and whistles one might expect from an axial control center and first responder on emergencies and crimes.

The Central 911 has been offering training to barangay volunteers so they can create their own first responders. This is done under the principle of resilient communities and the core training revolves around the need to enhance the skills on detecting early warning signs, preemptive evacuation, and disaster response. The rescue volunteers are also tasked to spread awareness to the people in community and schools in their respective so they know what to do not just during earthquakes but also in typhoons, floods, and landslides.

In case of Davao City, it’s best that the awareness level should go down to the grassroots because the city is sitting on two active fault lines located in New Carmen in Tugbok and in Barangay Ma-a, Talomo District.

Nobody can really prepare for the “Big One.” At best, we can only hope to mitigate the damage, and one can do that by being prepared as one can be.

That job should not be left to the government alone. No matter how small it is, everybody plays a part.

Posted in Opinion