Assessment needed for calamity declaration

BAGUIO CITY- An assessment by the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) and other national line agencies would be needed for a declaration of the city as a calamity area.

This was Mayor Mauricio Domogan's pronouncement in response to queries after the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong where 12 individuals are confirmed dead with at least three missing in landslides around the city.

We are not qualified for such declaration, the mayor said repeatedly.

Accordingly, areas hit by calamities could avail of funds if 20% of the total population is seriously affected, 40% of livelihood source is seriously affected, 40% food product is seriously affected, major access roads are closed, and there is no electricity in the area.

In the evening of the day the storm struck the Cordillera area, 61% of the city's electricity was restored, the mayor pointed out. Most of the roads leading to the city have also been opened, thus food supplies could be delivered to the city.

Mayor Domogan also said that evacuees in the 42 evacuation centers have gone home.

The mayor noted that the Typhoon which dumped "abnormal proportions of rainwater," showed what could be done for mitigation.

There should be strict compliance to the environmental code, he added. For technical people, the size of drainage needs to be increased. Pre-emptive evacuation should be done during strong typhoons, he added.

The mayor also emphasized that years earlier, geohazard maps were distributed and danger zones were identified by the City Planning and Development Office with the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Domogan thus warned individuals not to insist on building houses within danger-prone areas, avoid constricting waterways, and allow easement areas. Careful planning always benefits the community, the mayor said.

Garbage should always be disposed of properly, so as not to clog drains and waterways.

It would be very difficult to foretell natural calamities, thus cooperation in times of typhoons would be prudent. There is no substitute for preparation as it strikes without proper notice, the mayor further said. -juliegfianza

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