By Rhaydz Barcia, Published at Manila Times, March 1, 2012
LEGAZPI CITY: The Office of Civil Defense in Bicol and the provincial government of Albay are steadfastly intensifying disaster preparedness among local communities and lessen the collateral damage should disaster strike here.
The OCD regional office led by director Bernardo Alejandro and governor Joey Salceda are set to conduct unified earthquake and tsunami exercises in high-risk municipalities in Albay to heighten community awareness and preparedness measures here.
Bicol region specifically Albay province—classified as the ‘one-stop-shop of all type of disasters’ due to dire geography facing the Pacific Ocean where storms and tectonic temblors build up— gears up for simultaneous earthquake and tsunami exercises in the first congressional district, an area here with longest seaboard covering the towns of Sto. Domingo, Malinao, Bacacay, Malilipot, Tiwi and Tabaco City.
The drill will be done early this month to be observed by the members of the US forces under the Pacific Angel Command who will conduct a weeklong humanitarian mission in Albay from March 5 to 10.
The Pacific Angel 12-1 headed by US Air Force Lt. Col. Michael R. Black commander of 36th Mobility Response Squadron seeks to “improve inter-operability and cooperation between national and local governments, militaries, international organizations and non-government organizations in responding to disasters.
“Albay was chosen as venue of the event essentially because of its globally renowned civil-military disaster risk reduction management (DRRM) partnership and climate change adaptation initiatives,” he told The Manila Times.
The Albay earthquake (EQ) and tsunami drill will be done ahead of the national government’s EQ exercise in Manila which is set on April during the RP-US Balikatan exercises.
NDRRMC Usec. Benito Ramos said the National Capital Region (NCR) or central will be replicating Albay’s preparedness, adaptation and mitigation measures.
“In the past 20 years, at least 31,835 Filipinos have reportedly been killed and 94,369,462 have been affected by natural disasters and calamities. According to World Risk Index 2011, the Philippines places third out of 173 countries ranked according to their “risk score” or their exposure to hazards such as earthquakes, floods and storms, drought and sea level rise,” he said.
The NDRRMC official said that drills are very important as coping up mechanism and adaptation programs for Filipino’s resiliency.
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