Understanding calamity preparedness and the President’s visit to victims of Tropical Storm Sendong

It was Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raymond Palatino who “pointed out Aquino’s veto message for the 2011 budget. President Aquino said: “I caution the inclusion of pre-disaster activities such as preparation of relocation sites/facilities, and training of personnel engaged in direct disaster in the use of the Calamity Fund. While said purpose is laudable, the same must be weighed against the imperious need of maintaining sufficient provision under the Calamity Fund for actual calamities and prevent its full utilization for pre-disaster activities…”

Palatino noted the veto message last October in an ABS CBN news report. He added that “While damages caused by typhoons are inevitable, we can definitely reduce them through disaster preparedness. As more typhoons are expected to hit the Philippines in the following days, the President should strengthen pre-disaster activities to substantially reduce the devastating effects of typhoons and other calamities.”


In the same news, “Palatino cited section 22 of Republic Act No. 10121, which states that disaster risk reduction, prevention and preparedness should be the primary mandate of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

The law further states that quick response to calamities should be secondary and should only be given 30% of the total NDRRMC budget.

“RA 10121 affirms the importance of pre-disaster preparations over quick response measures. The decision of President Aquino to veto disaster preparation for this year’s calamity fund resulted to unequipped personnel and inefficient government response before, during and after calamities. The veto is a man-made disaster that should be reversed by the President himself”.

Undersecretary Manolo Quezon reacted to my tweet on this veto message. He pointed out that “Preresponse and response funds included in DSWD etc budgets: thats how they could mobilize so quickly.” It boggled my mind that the Mayor of Cagayan de Oro was not aware of Tropical typhoon Sendong. Even if he was not aware, aren’t there agencies involved to minimize deaths ? @mlq3 clarified that the DSWD mandate is relief and rehabilitation. The DPWH is for infrastructure response while the DILG for fire, police. He also shared RA 10121 – Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 where the division of powers and responsibilities between national and local government units (LGU) are outlined in the law. He added that “reviewing the law will clarify the role President and national authorities undertake, and regional and LGU disaster councils.”

While I do agree that the LGUs are responsible for certain tasks in managing disasters, I believed that the President should be visible. Discussion revolved around the need of a President. @Anthony_Andres ” really do hope he goes sooner rather than later. if only to convey the message “kumusta na kayo…..may pakialam ako” .

I explained that “Having the @PresidentNoy is comforting to the bereaved, the survivors and even boost morale for volunteers, and gov’t workers.” @tonyocruz says “Tragedies such as this demand that President, as head of state, go immediately to place of disaster to commiserate with citizens.”

The reason for his absence , Usec Quezon explains is that “In context of allowing adequate and most efficient use of resources to get aid and relief there fast and first.” and added that “President has been clear on his view better and more effective to give space for first responders than clog up resources.”

Having a visible President is a being a good leader. I told @Mlq3 that believe “this tragedy is massive. He is loved as a President. The sooner the better . ” A definite date is needed so people have something to look forward to.

With over 600 deaths and 800 more missing, it is not too much for leaders to empathize.

The good news is after 2 hours, @govph released news from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) that the President will visit CDO and Iligan on Tuesday , December 20.

More work is needed to prevent similar “surprise”. Whether or not the mayors are informed, they should be prepared before calamity strikes especially in evacuating the residents to safe place. Illegal logging should be stopped at all costs.

I am with Raissa Robles call that “residents must organize to save their environment from the greedy few”. “The flooding in northern Mindanao could well be a cataclysmic but natural event. However, with the amount of logs that went tumbling down the mountains there, illegal logging appears to have exacerbated the flooding.”

Indeed , long term solutions is needed.

Raissa Robles asks “How do we protect ourselves from those who continue to rape our forests?

By organizing.”

Here was our discussion with Usec Quezon and some of the tweeps

RA 10121 – Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010