Philippine Information Agency (PIA)
PIA press release by Minerva B.C. Newman
Manila - Disaster risk reduction is everybody’s business. The national and local government units and the private sector must work together to ensure that the citizens in this country are ready to prevent hazards from turning into devastating disasters.
During the second hearing of the Senate Committee on Climate Change on the government’s disaster preparedness, Senator Loren Legarda, the committee chair, said that while the government puts in place various disaster risk reduction (DRR) measures, the private sector should take the initiative of doing their share in such effort.
Legarda stressed the importance of a strong partnership between the government and the private sector in disaster preparedness and resiliency.
Both sectors must unite to come up with an effective and widespread information campaign on disaster preparedness.
They must develop strategies that would help people understand natural hazards, identify the signs of an impending danger, and know what to do when disasters occur.
The Senator explained that national agencies such as the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), need the help of local government units and the private sector in providing timely and accurate information to the people.
“It is not enough that the government as an institution is prepared because no matter how up-to-date or high-tech the disaster prevention mechanisms are, they would be ineffective if the public remains uninformed or misinformed of what they have to do during disasters,” she pointed out.
Legarda added that the regular conduct of fire and earthquake drills in schools, hospitals, malls, office buildings, condominium units and other establishments is essential to make the public more confident that they are equipped with the necessary information in dealing with disasters.
Good urban governance is key to earthquake safety. Local governments must relentlessly assess and rectify the vulnerability of public structures in their respective areas.
Meanwhile, administrators of office buildings and malls must also ensure earthquake safety in their premises and have contingency plans well in place and tested for preventing panic and stampede and handling the injured in the event of an earthquake, the senator added. (PIA-7/MBCN with reports from the Office of Senator Legarda)