MANILA - The number of casualties related to tropical cyclones in 2015 was about 50 percent lower compared to 2014, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Sunday.
In an interview with radio dzMM, NDRRMC executive director Alexander Pama said that in 2015, 126 people were killed due to weather disturbances -- far lower than the 294 typhoon-related casualties tallied in 2014.
The official noted that no mass casualties were recorded in 2015, and that most victims suffered "preventable deaths" caused by falling debris, drowning or electrocution.
Pama attributed this achievement to improved disaster preparation of local government units and the public.
"Masasabi natin na sa isang taong lumipas, napakalaki ng naging deperensya kung paano natin hinarap itong mga delubyo, mga challenge sa atin ng huling dalawang taon," he said. "Ang naging kapuna-puna rito ay iyung malaking improvement sa ating kahandaan at pakikipagtulungan ng ating mga mamamayan."
Pama also stressed that government's approach to disaster preparation is now hazard-specific, area-focused and time-bound.
But he admitted that while an efficient system is already in place, improvements must still be made in standardizing the incident command system at the municipal level.
"Iyung pagtuturo, iyung incident command system, dapat pare-pareho iyan. Hindi dapat iba-iba ang itinuturo para kapag dumating ang oras, nagkita-kita kayo, nagkakaintindihan na kung ano ang gagawin," he said.
"Pagdating mo doon, kung iba-iba ang napag-aralan ng mga tao na ito, puro nga magagaling e aanhin mo iyung dosenang magagaling kung kanya-kanyang mundo ang ginagawa."
Pama shared that they will focus on standardizing disaster response practices during the first half of 2016. He added that President Beningno Aquino III has approved the hiring of some 300 new employees nationwide for this.