By Neela Duallo
DAVAO ORIENTAL – Inculcating the culture of safety and disaster preparedness among all residents, especially those in coastal areas which are vulnerable to tsunamis, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) conducted an earthquake and tsunami drill yesterday, February 26.
Yesterday’s drill was held in the coastal community of Barangay Lucatan in the municipality of Tarragona, Davao Oriental, which served as the pilot barangay for the province’s Earthquake and Tsunami Orientation with Community Drill.
PDRRMO Assistant Department Head, Francis Jason Bendulo said that the activity is part of the priority programs of Governor Nelson Dayanghirang on disaster preparedness which bid to train, educate, and prepare all coastal barangays of the province from tsunami following the series of earthquakes that shook Mindanao.
The training also aims to help the barangays properly coordinate with their counterparts in the municipalities and the province in disaster preparedness while teaching them to become more resourceful in disaster preparedness efforts.
Bendulo lauded the residents of Barangay Lucatan not only for their active participation but also for the community’s resourcefulness in using what is available in the community, such as the mosque speaker, as an early warning device.
“Not all barangays are equipped with early warning devices so what they did was really impressive,” said Mr. Bendulo, saying that communities can always utilize their resources for risk reduction and that they must be resourceful and creative.
He also appealed to other communities to take the drill very seriously. “What we are doing is not to scare them. Remember, this is for their own good,” he added.
Meanwhile, Tarragona Mayor Nestor Uy, who witnessed the activity, said he considers the activity as a huge necessity for his constituents in order to be prepared in times of catastrophe.
“We are here to know what are the proper things to be done to ensure disaster preparedness. Of course, we are not hoping, and absolutely we are not expecting these calamities to happen, but the best weapon is still preparedness. We have to act before it’s too late,” he added.
Punong Barangay Manny Tambuco expressed his profound gratitude to the provincial government for initiating and bringing the drill to his barangay so his people may know the utmost importance of risk reduction management.
The provincial government reiterated its desire for a calamity resilient province and envisions the time when residents themselves do the planning, including identification of possible evacuation sites.
Giving premium on disaster preparedness, the national government has set a National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill on March 12 wherein the coastal Barangay of Zaragosa in the municipality of Manay will be the regional pilot area. (Neela Duallo)