MANILA, Aug. 17 (PIA) — Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II on Thursday called on the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to work closely with the 17 Metro Manila mayors on weather and flood warnings to enable them to make sound decisions on flood-related problems.
“We must be able to come up with a working protocol for direct information transfer from the DOST-PAGASA to the Metro mayors who will be the ultimate decision-makers in times of flood-related problems,” Roxas said.
As vice-chair for preparedness of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), Roxas called a command conference at the PNP headquarters at Camp Crame to tackle and assess the levels of preparedness of each city in Metro Manila.
Roxas asked PAGASA to make a directory of personal and hotline numbers of all the 17 mayors to facilitate the exchange of information between the weather bureau and the local chief executives. The mayors and their city administrators and local DRMMC heads attending the conference made the request for this information exchange.
“Nais lang natin masiguro na hindi tayo magtuturuan later on. Ngayon pa lang habang wala pang ulan at baha, plantsahin na natin ito,” Roxas said. (We just want to ensure that we won’t be pointing fingers at each other later on. We have to iron quickly before the onset of rains or floods.)
“It would be up to the mayors to evaluate the information. What is important is that they can start the process in coming out with decisions regarding incoming weather disturbance,” he added.
Later, the DOST-PAGASA provided Metro mayors and their representatives in the conference with cellular phone SIM cards the local chief executives could use in directly calling for weather updates.
The DOST provided updates on Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) and a PowerPoint presentation of the Metro Manila flood situation.
Renato Brion, DILG NCR director, gave an update on the state of flood preparedness of LGUs in the National Capital Region while Allan Tabel of DILG discussed the topic of ‘Enhancing Local Flood Forecasting Capacities.”
Richie Van Angeles of Pasig City and Hector Reyes of Makati City presented the concept of “Mutual Aid Response Mechanism” wherein every Metro Manila LGU should share its equipment, manpower and resources in aiding nearby localities that are in need of help and support during a crisis.
Among the Metro mayors present at the conference were Oca Malapitan of Caloocan; Herbert Baustista of Quezon City; Rex Gatchalian of Valenzuela; Jaime Medina of Pateros; Maria Laarni Cayetano of Taguig; Edwin Olivarez of Paranaque; Benhur Abalos of Mandaluyong; Antonio Calixto of Pasay; and Vergel Aguilar of Las Pinas. Other mayors like Manila and Makati sent their representatives.
Other attendees included representatives from the Department of Social and Welfare and Development, Philippine Coast Guard, Department of Education, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Philippine National Police, and Bureau of Fire Protection. (DILG/RJB/JCP/PIA-NCR)