MANILA (Mabuhay) — Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday urged local government units (LGU) to include disaster preparedness and efforts for resilience in crafting their development plans.
Robredo, who also heads the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), said LGUs must go beyond the “reactive” disaster preparedness efforts, which includes merely securing stocks of relief goods and equipment as part of preparations for calamities.
“Disaster preparedness is really measured on how well you have incorporated disaster-related plans in your local development plans,” she said. “Parang if you look at all the DRRM (disaster and risk reduction management) plans of most local government units, most of the budget goes to relief operations.”
She added that the government must be “more interested in the preventive aspect” of disaster preparedness.
Robredo, former representative of the third district of Camarines Sur, noted that local government units there seemed to have produced their DRRM plans more out of compliance.
“We were heavily damaged by Typhoon Glenda in 2014. Because of that, I was asking [for] the local DRRM plans, which is required by law of all local government units. And while local government units in my district had the DRRM plans of their own, ‘pag tiningnan n’yo, parang cut-and-paste na template… [They complied] without having to understand the vulnerabilities of their particular jurisdictions,” she said.
She added: “[T]here seems to be no real effort to really prepare for disasters as the mindset of most local government units—at least in my district—was disaster preparedness is all about being ready with relief goods once disasters strike and we all know that disaster preparedness is not that at all.”
She also pointed out: “Most of the time—I think many of you will agree with me—na ‘pag pinag-uusapan ‘yung mga disaster na nangyari, tinitingnan lang saan ba i-e-evacuate, meron bang pagkain sa evacuation centers?”
Robredo was guest speaker at the signing of a memorandum of agreement for the “Moving Urban Poor Communities Towards Resilience” Project, a partnership between a consortium of international organizations, via the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid, and the local governments of Quezon City, Malabon, and Valenzuela.
The project is expected to come up with improved alternative temporary shelter solutions for the urban poor in the said cities, and to increase urban poor communities’ resilience through this and livelihood.
The LGUs are also encouraged to strengthen and institutionalize policies and mechanisms for urban poor disaster resilience.
The project, which will run for 18 months, will cover a total of 30,000 urban poor residents in 12 barangays, four from each of the three cities.
Robredo said she hopes the LGUs involved can inspire others to follow suit.
“This is really urgent as far as urban development and resiliency is concerned,” she said. “Ang pinakaproblema po namin sa Housing ngayon, hindi lang kulang sa pera. Kulang talaga sa appreciation ng pagkakaroon ng evidence-based planning at kulang talaga sa appreciation ng paghahanda sa susunod [na mga mangyayari].”
“We really should look at it in a more comprehensive approach, and that is towards urban development,” she added.(MNS)