MANILA, Philippines – Officials of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) have announced that they are readying themselves for at least 18 presumably strong typhoons.
“We cannot predict how many of them are strong because that is a function of the weather (bureau). But we are experiencing erratic weather,” NDRRMC executive director Alexander Pama said yesterday.
“I think the prudent thing for us to do is to assume that most of these are strong,” he said further.
The NDRRMC and its member agencies met yesterday in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City in order to discuss and map out the preparations in anticipation of the rainy season. They pledged a better response mechanism to natural calamities, in comparison to the disaster relief efforts during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
Similarly, Malacañang guaranteed the public that the government is now more equipped and better able to deal with flooding and disasters brought by impending typhoons and the rainy season.
“We have prepared for this,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said during a press briefing.
“There is no way to go but to improve on what we have been doing… We cannot do otherwise,” Pama added.
Although Pama admitted to numerous gaps in last year’s implementation of disaster-relief measures, he cited that more specific advisories and well-defined roles for agencies, local governments and civilian stakeholders are in place for this year.
“While the relief items were prepared, some were not that necessary while some needed items were lacking,” he noted.
Lacierda highlighted several measures currently being undertaken to help alleviate the problems brought on by typhoons and heavy rains. He pointed out that the Department of Public Works and Highways has created a catchment area in España, Manila; with diggings which enable flood waters to recede faster. He also added that the Metro Manila Development Authority is responsible for ensuring that pumping stations are functioning properly.
He pointed out, as well, that the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) is “performing marvelously” in identifying the areas that storms are expected to hit.
Lastly, Lacierda said that government has also been relocating informal settlers and removing them from danger zones and creeksides.