PGIN assures stronger disaster preparedness

Sep 27, 2016 ...

The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) assured a stronger preparedness in times of disasters as Typhoon Helen (international name Megi) was seen to hit extreme North Luzon over the past few days.

Making its way outside of Philippine area of responsibility as it moves closer to Taiwan today, the typhoon was forecast by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to bring strong winds and heavy rains in the country.

In line with this, Governor Imee R. Marcos convened the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management and Resiliency Council yesterday morning to map out an efficient and effective preparedness as well as response plan in case Typhoon Helen batters the province.

During an interview, Ilocos Norte agriculturist Norma Lagmay noted that the province follows intensified disaster and emergency precautionary methods.

"It is important that we are always well-prepared and prioritize the immediate needs of our farmers and fishermen to aid them for a faster recovery," added Lagmay.

She also highlighted the advise of Governor Marcos not to overlook the possible damage brought by typhoons by reaping all crops ready for harvesting to minimize possible loss and destruction.

Stressing that the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) maintains a close coordination with various municipal and city agriculturists in Ilocos Norte, Lagmay said that the "provincial government is always ready to provide rehabilitation materials to our farmers and fishermen."

Support such as transportation for the harvested crops before a disaster strikes and equipment in the form of mechanical and flatbed dryers are readily available at PAO.

Meanwhile, Ilocos Norte veterinarian Loida Valenzuela highlighted that the greatest strength of the province is the Ilocanos' age-old culture of unity as she called for the protection of animals, aside from humans, during disasters and emergencies.

"Aside from the weather advisories issued by PAGASA, we also have intensified coordination with city and municipal veterinarians who ensure that the barangay officials are informed on ways to properly evacuate the animals in their areas," added Valenzuela.

She noted that these animals must be evacuated in elevated places and protected by the threat of flash floods and ripped roofs brought by strong winds during typhoons.

Ilocos Norte Social Welfare and Development Officer Lilian Rin also noted that the provincial government has a stockpile of relief goods housed in the seven satellite bodegas across the province.

"These are prepositioned goods so that when a disaster strikes, we have relief goods immediately available for distribution," she added.

She also highlighted that the senior citizens across Ilocos Norte are the ones who are given utmost priority during disasters, saying, "let us help our elderly neighbors especially those who live near riverbanks and high-risk communities during disaster evacuation."

All throughout the years, Governor Marcos has convened and intensified the operation of the Provincial Disaster Risk and Reduction Management and Resiliency Council to ensure zero casualties and less property damage especially in the vulnerable areas in the province.

by John Michael Mugas



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