Soccsksargen updates contingency plan for quake, tsunami

GENERAL SANTOS CITYThe local governments and other stakeholders in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) are now more prepared in responding to possible major earthquakes and tsunamis.

This, as the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and the Office of Civil Defense in Region 12 (OCD-12) have completed the updating of the regional contingency plan for such disasters.

Jerome Barranco, OCD-12 assistant director, said Wednesday the plan focuses on the preparedness of local and national government agencies as well as stakeholders in case a strong earthquake and tsunami will hit the area.

He said they developed the contingency plan following the series of earthquakes that hit the area from October 2019 to early this year.

It includes the proper preparation of the public for emergency situations and the setting of proper response systems, he said.

Barranco said it aims to ensure the immediate mobilization of responders and provision of necessary assistance to those affected by the calamity.

He said they crafted responses for critical scenarios like the collapse of houses and buildings, and the occurrence of tsunamis in the coastal areas.

They identified the available assets in every locality such as fire trucks, ambulances, medicine and first aid kits, and other necessary resources, he said.

“The contingency plan adopted a holistic approach in addressing emergency or calamity situation,” he said in a briefing.

The official said they involved in the plan the other government agencies and stakeholders such as the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, local government units and non-government organizations.

He said they conducted a series of workshops in line with the development of the contingency plan.

Barranco said their strategy emphasizes the need to properly prepare for possible emergency situations, especially the conduct of earthquake and tsunami drills.

He said it is important for people to always remember the “duck, cover and hold” principle and other related mechanisms to prevent possible casualties.

The official noted that a number of fault lines remain active in parts of the region that could trigger more strong earthquakes.

In the magnitude 6.3 quake that hit the area on Oct. 16 last year, OCD-12 said over 200 public and private structures sustained damages in the area.

It triggered a major fire at the Gaisano Mall here that caused damages of around PHP2 billion and displaced at least 2,500 workers. (PNA)

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