Disaster council chief backs proposed new calamity agency
MANILA — Schools in Mindanao are inadequate shelters for thousands of residents displaced from their homes by a series of deadly quakes last month, the head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Monday as he backed the proposed creation of a new state agency for calamity response.
The 3 October quakes had a combined death toll of 29, with the last 2 tremors affecting some 188,000 people, 24,000 of whom fled to evacuation centers, according to an NDRRMC report.
Some quake survivors over the weekend left evacuation centers and instead begged for food and medicine along the highway in Makilala, Cotabato, the general area where the 3 quakes struck.
"Inaamin natin, hindi preparado iyong mga eskuwelahan natin na gawing evacuation center," said NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad.
(We admit our evacuation centers are not prepared to be used as evacuation centers.)
Authorities on Monday will discuss ways on how to provide additional portable toilets and makeshift kitchens to evacuees, said Jalad. He asked those interested in donating relief aid to refrain from dropping these off along roads.
"Kinakailangan talaga i-implement iyong law and order saka iyong pag-organize ng distribution at siyempre iparating iyong tamang tulong sa evacuation center para di umalis ang ating mga kababayan," he said.
The NDRRMC is composed of the heads of state agencies that "augment the resources" of local governments which lead disaster response in their areas, Jalad said.
He said he was in favor of a proposed law that would create a new Department of Disaster Resilience with wider powers that can speed up aid distribution.
"Ngayon, talagang purely reliant tayo sa inter-agency, multi-stakeholder approach. Kailangan palakasin natin para mas mabilis ang aksyon," he said.
(We are purely reliant on an inter-agency, multi-stakeholder approach. We need to strengthen this so that our action will be faster.)