Forced evacuation for calamities ordinance in Cebu City passed
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Council has passed an ordinance that would allow the government to implement forced evacuation in case of emergencies, calamities, and severe weather disturbances.
Councilor Raymond Garcia, majority floor leader, drafted the ordinance that would give the city government power to implement mandatory evacuation for preemptive purposes in order to avoid casualties during calamities.
Garcia told CDN Digital that Typhoon Odette showed the importance of evacuation during calamities as temporarily displacing vulnerable communities to a much safer area had contributed to the low death toll in the city.
The city only recorded 17 deaths and most of them were individuals who stayed in their homes or were traveling during the supertyphoon.
“There is no law nga mo-penalize kung dili mohawa og iforced evacuate. But evacuating people during calamities actually saves lives. With this ordinance, naa na tay penalties kung dili sila moevacuate,” said Garcia.
(There is no law that will penalize if no resident will leave their homes if they will be forced to evacuate. But evacuating people during calamities actually saves lives. With this ordinance, we now have penalties for those who will not evacuate [during forced evacuations].)
The City Council passed the ordinance with no objections on March 2, 2022, almost two months after the disastrous typhoon.
The ordinance stipulates the procedures for the evacuation, which starts with the assessment of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) on whether an area needs preemptive evacuation or forced evacuation under threat of calamity.
The recommendation will be submitted to the City Council of which when approved will be submitted to the Mayor for implementation.
The barangay, CDRRMO, police, and in some instances, even the military, may be called to implement the forced evacuation of residents.
An evacuation site must be established where the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) will be ready to accomodate the evacuees.
The Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF) will have the power to seize custody of all animal lives during the evacuation so they will be taken to a safer place, freeing the evacuees the worry of taking with them their animals.
Each barangay is required to have an elevated observation post so as to monitor the situation while the forced evacuation ensues.
Door-to-door information campaign will also be done prior to the evacuation.
Now, if an individual or group tries to hamper the evacuation process, they will be fined up to P5,000 or jail time of not more than 30 days.
The ordinance is now waiting for the signature of Mayor Michael Rama for implementation.
Garcia said that Typhoon Odette had made the city rethink its disaster response protocols and the ordinance would ensure that there would be a legal backdrop for the disaster office to implement necessary measures to save as much as lives as possible when a disaster would come.
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