BALON DAGUPAN NEWS
MAYOR Belen T. Fernandez shared Dagupan’s best practices in crisis management as a resource person for the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s Basic Orientation for Reelected Local Chief Executives in Region 1 in Baguio City on August 31.
Fernandez presented the paper “Balon Dagupan’s Crisis Management: A Commitment for a Better City” describing what the city had done and is doing under her watch to respond to the challenges posed by climate change.
The centerpiece of her response was the creation of the Public Assistance Response and Management Center (PARMC) as an extension of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC), the over-all lead crisis management body of the city.
“PARMC is our information engine that provides me with fast, quick and relevant information on various matters. As a crisis manager, I am heavily dependent on and appreciate the critical role of information to make wise and informed decisions,” said Fernandez.
She said to make the operation of the CDRRMC and the PARMC more efficient and effective, the city invested in acquiring and installing the most modern equipment and technology, i.e., a tsunami early warning system in five strategic locations, an intensity meter and a Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for earthquake monitoring, an automated weather station for accurate weather forecast for the next five days, and a Light Detection and Ranging software which provides a topographical map of the city showing areas that are underwater during the rainy season.
The CDRRMC was equipped with rescue equipment, new rescue trucks, fire trucks and ambulance, new police cars, rescue boats, boat ambulance, dump trucks, backhoe and a heavy duty water pump machine to siphon long-staying floodwater out in every barangays and schools on top of the regular conduct of earthquake and tsunami drills.
The city also organized the Quick Response Team (QRT) that serves as the city’s front line responder (24/7) in extending immediate assistance to all victims of calamities and disasters, natural or man-made alike.
Also, at least 300 taller buildings were tapped as Privately Hosted Evacuation Centers where people can run for safety in the event a tsunami or storm surge occurs. Another three-storey building is being constructed in Barangay Salapingao to serve as an evacuation center.
“We also sponsored swimming lessons to 6,000 school children to keep them equipped and prepared when unusual flood occurs in the city. This is one of the important things we did to reduce public anxiety, fears and insecurity,” said Fernandez.
Fernandez also opened the lines of communication with other LGUs near Dagupan to mutually address the flood crisis that does not only affect the city but also its neighboring towns like Calasiao.
“We have been working closely with experts of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and with our 4th District Representative Christopher “Toff” De Venecia and 3rd District Representative Baby Arenas. Together, we look for best possible ways to divert the flow of floodwater coming from Barangay Banaoang, Calasiao directly down to the Banaoang River and not to Barangay Lasip Chico of Dagupan City. Based on our findings, this floodwater also affects the barangays of Malued, Lasip Grande, Tapuac and Lucao,” added Fernandez.
Fernandez disclosed that with the new Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP), the city will soon be able to address the many problems on flooding that it faces.
On peace and order, the city stepped up its campaign against illegal drugs by introducing the Anti-Drug textline which resulted in the surrender of 813 drug personalities while 670 drug dependents have been arrested in police buy-bust operations.
“At least 442 are now facing legal charges in court for violation of Republic Act 9165,” said Fernandez.
To protect the women and children against abuses, the city launched its Anti-Bullying/Child Protection hotline and Women Protection hotline.
At the same time, CCTV cameras were installed in 17 locations in the city while the Basic Emergency Life Extending Network 16911 or B.E.L.E.N. 16911 operates 24/7.
To date, it has already responded to 1,403 cases ranging from vehicular accidents, medical, fire, mauling, shooting, OB cases and patient conduction, among others.
“Our Women Center, which will serve as temporary shelter for victims of abuses, will soon be inaugurated,” said Fernandez.
Because of these efforts, the city was conferred with awards for its outstanding contributions in strengthening the resilience and adaptive capacities of communities to disaster risks for two consecutive years. (Joseph C. Bacani/CIO)