ITOGON, Benguet, June 10 (PIA) -- The municipal government here is set to conduct a massive and intensive information education and communication (IEC) campaign on disaster preparations and readiness in the different barangays with the upcoming rainy season.
Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer (MDRRMO) Engr. Cyril Batcagan said the IEC campaign on the disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) plans aim to heighten the awareness and to prepare the people for the coming rainy season and the typhoons that may hit the municipality.
"We are focusing to make sure that the people of Itogon will be more prepared and will follow the redesigned disaster plans to avert loss of lives and properties and so that the incidents that occurred in the past typhoons will not happen again," Batcagan said during the Emergency Response and Preparedness Meeting here last week.
Itogon was the hardest hit municipality during typhoon Ompong in September last year and this made a very big impact to the people of Itogon and even those outside of the area.
It could be remembered that several landslide incidents occurred in Itogon town with death toll reaching more than 100. The worst incident was at the massive landslide at Barangay Ucab particularly at Level 070 burying alive at least 80 individuals. This also led to the stoppage of small scale mining activities in the entire region that affected the livelihood of many people and other stakeholders in the small scale mine industry.
Batcagan said that the municipal government thru the LDRRMO starts the IEC campaign with the meeting of the different barangay officials and members of the Itogon MDRRMC on June 10 at the Itogon Training Center to present the DRRM plans.
With the typhoon Ompong experience, Batcagan said the DRRM plans from preparedness, response, recovery and rehabilitation have been rehashed based on the needs and impact with those kinds of disaster .
With most of the schools in the municipality affected by TY Ompong and at least 14 schools identified as high risk or vulnerable to heavy rains and earth movement, the LDRRMO with the different school heads and disaster coordinators also devised mechanisms that would lessen the risk of students during the rainy season.
As part of the DRRM plan, pre-emptive evacuation or possibly forced evacuation will be strongly be implemented to ensure that people living in the geo-hazard areas particularly along landslide- prone and flashflood- prone areas will be safe during calamities.
Batcagan added that they also made several disaster response plans as well as rehabilitation and recovery plans based on the effects of Ompong.
All these will be discussed during the IEC activities that will be conducted in every barangay to ensure that everybody will be informed and updated on the disaster plans for everybody's safety and concern.
Batcagan said they will invite resource speakers from the Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council (CRDRRMC) such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Dept. of Science and Technology, Office of Civil Defense, Philippine National Police and other agencies to discuss technical aspects on the situation of Itogon.
Meanwhile, CRDRRMC Chairperson, OCD-CAR Regional Director Alberto Mogol said the council is working closely with the Itogon LGU and the MDRRMO to ensure that their DRRM plans during disasters will be swiftly implemented to avoid mass casualty incidents.
The CRDRRMC has also conducted provincial DRRM caravan to check on the DRRM plans of LGUs and make sure that these plans are right and equipped for the concerned LGU. (JDP/RMC -PIA CAR & Harley Sibuma- UC Intern)