Vice Chair for Disaster Response and Early Recovery Pillar and Department of Social Welfare and Development Regional Director Marites Maristela (right) leads the discussion on the region’s preparedness plans and activities for the rainy season. (Trixie Joy B. Manalili/PIA 3)

TARLAC CITY — Central Luzon Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) member-agencies convened to discuss the preparedness activities, tools and protocols for the rainy season. 

RDRRMC Chairperson and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Regional Director Cesar Idio emphasized the need to prepare and alert the response cluster in undertaking emergency response during calamities. 

“You observed that for the past couple of days, we’ve heard several [news about] flash floods and landslides in Ifugao, Bataan, and today, Tagaytay also experienced casualties. So, we need to be ready 24/7,” Idio stressed. 

He added that all member-agencies must be prepared to provide services to the possible affected families and communities. 

For her part, Vice Chair for Disaster Response and Early Recovery Pillar and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Regional Director Marites Maristela expressed her confidence in the immediate disaster response of the council. 

“I just want to make sure, as your cluster chair, that we are ready to attend to the needs of our constituents in Central Luzon during calamities. In the past, we were able to respond immediately to the needs of the victims. But we have to sustain it,” she noted. 

As of July 12, according to Maristela, DSWD has 19,775 available family food packs (FFP), and 5,209 FFP prepositioned in warehouse hubs in Aurora and Nueva Ecija. 

“We have a total of 1,034 quick response team personnel on-standby across the whole region who closely monitor the situation in all provinces in coordination with the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices (PDRRMOs), City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices, and local social welfare and development offices,” she noted. 

Also, Maristela cited the available five sets of Children-Friendly Space Kits and Women-Friendly Space Kits to ensure the safety of disadvantaged children and women in evacuation centers. 

Moreover, there are 68 DSWD personnel trained on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support; 262 Field Office staff trained on Camp Coordination and Camp Management; and 30 Field staff trained on Logistics and Warehouse Management. 

The regional director mentioned that DSWD inked a memorandum of agreement with the Water District of Pampanga to ensure provision of potable water as part of relief supply to disaster-affected population. 

Meanwhile, Department of Health (DOH) stated the continuous delivery of essential health services such as medical and public health, and allocation of hygiene kits and assorted medicines to Provincial DOH Offices with or without a disaster.  

For its part, Department of Information and Communications Technology stressed the installation of CCTVs, training for Government Emergency Telecommunications Team personnel, and High Frequency (HF) Radio Weather Updating with HF bases stations in Bustos in Bulacan, Mabalacat City in Pampanga, Iba in Zambales, and Baler in Aurora. 

Department of the Interior and Local Government highlighted the dissemination of advisories and weather bulletins to local government units, capacity development for their personnel, and stockpiling of goods. 

Also, OCD presented an inventory of their non-food items and personal protective equipment stored in Clark in Pampanga, and Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija. 

Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and Department of Public Works and Highways affirmed that their respective personnel, mobility units, and other assets are ready for deployment. 

Department of Education and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development noted their close coordination with the other member-agencies.

Lastly, PDRRMOs stated that they are ready to provide food and non-food items, equipment and other assistance in case of a calamity. (Trixie Joy Manalili/PIA 3)