‘WV can be a model of resiliency’

DEPARTMENT of National Defense Secretary and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Chairperson Delfin N. Lorenzana (front row, 4th from left) leads the turnover of the P32-million Regional Evacuation Center to the town of Zarraga, Iloilo on Aug 2, 2019. (Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

No less than the Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana underscored the potential of Western Visayas to become the country’s model of resiliency amid disasters.

Lorenzana, who visited Iloilo on Friday, said the region should intensify its foresight and pre-disaster management efforts to make the region the model for resiliency.

“Compared to other regions konti lang yung disaster ninyo maybe because malayo layo kasi sa Pacific Ocean pero just the same, yung tubig at ulan na dumadating dito malakas pa din but because of your foresight at yung ginagawa na pre-disaster management ninyo, konti lang yung damages so you could do more to make you the model for resiliency,” he said in an interview during the turnover of the Regional Evacuation Center in Iloilo on Friday.

Lorenzana led the turnover of the P32-million Regional Evacuation Center to the town of Zarraga, Iloilo alongside Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, Iloilo 2nd district Rep. Mike Gorriceta, Governor Arthur Defensor Jr., and Zarraga Mayor John Tarrosa.

According to Lorenzana, the government is now constructing evacuation centers all over the country because of the increase in frequency and strength of disasters.

Malakas ang mga bagyo ngayon. If it’s because of climate change and global warming then the more reason that we have to construct this evacuation center,” he said.

He added that this will also respond to the clamor of the Department of Education (DepEd) particularly on the disruption of classes when schools are being used as evacuation centers.

“The schools will not be used anymore as evacuation center because DepEd nagrereklamo na at disadvantaged ang mga kabataan if schools will be used as evacuation centers,” he added.

Moreover, Lorenzana said the evacuation center will also be a focal point for the initiatives in the area of disaster risk reduction and management.

“We really need this because right now the trend on our climate, the disaster risk reduction and management has become a centerpiece of our initiative in the civil defense,” he said.

Including the evacuation center in Zarraga, OCD-6 Regional Director Jose Roberto Nuñez said Western Visayas has currently six fully-furnished evacuation centers due for turnover in Aklan, Antique, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental. On the other hand, five other evacuation centers are undergoing construction in Guimaras, Capiz, Iloilo, Bacolod City, and Negros Occidental.

Each center sits on a 2, 610 square-meter lot with the following facilities:

      • Accommodation building good for 33 families with beds and 130 persons without bed
      • LDRRMC and OCD Office, infirmary and pharmacy
      • Toilet and bathroom for males, females, and PWDs
      • Laundry and drying facility with water tank
      • Generator and pump rooms
      • Garbage disposal building
      • Storage room can be converted into child-friendly learning space

Meanwhile, Lorenzana said they plan to construct one evacuation center per town.

He will also push for the creation of the Department of Disaster Management within the year.

Lorenzana said the department will work directly under the Office of the President alongside the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of National Defense (DND).