Cebu City should be more proactive in implementing measures vs earthquakes – official
CEBU CITY, Philippines — An official of the Cebu City Planning and Development Office (CCPDO) has urged the city government to be more “proactive” and implement extra measures for earthquake preparedness and response.
CCPDO head Architect Joseph Michael “Yumi” Espina, made the call in light of the massive earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria last February 6, 2023.
During the public hearing for a proposed ordinance on earthquake preparedness and response, on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, Espina said these measures may include the coming up of a new route in landslide-prone areas in the city’s mountain barangays and the creation of an official city map.
Espina noted that the city government seems to be only “reactive” in addressing the hazards brought by earthquakes and landslides, among other natural occurrences.
“It’s unfortunate that our responses here in the city go towards being reactive rather than preparation and mitigation. If we engage in planning—we should concentrate on the mitigation and preparedness,” Espina told the council.
Espina suggested constructing another road in the Mananga Area in the mountain barangays of the city, considering that the area is safer to use than the hazard-prone Malubog formation where road repairs are continuously being done.
Along with these suggestions, Espina also added the importance of having updated ‘city maps’ to further inform citizens about hazard areas.
“(The) city map is a convenient tool that is hardly been done by the city. We should have an official map so that we could have official road widening, the opening of roads and areas for watershed proactively,” explained Espina.
Espina is one of the three personnel who appeared before the city council on Wednesday to share their insights on the proposed ordinance of Councilor Pastor Alcover Jr. with a short tile of “Guidelines for Earthquake Preparedness, Response, Recovery, and Rehabilitation of Cebu City.”
Under the proposed ordinance, the city through its Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council should create an earthquake preparedness handbook which will be distributed to all public and private establishments.
It also provides for the provision of earthquake rescue vehicles equipped with rescue paraphernalia, and for the city to have earthquake response volunteers who are primarily barangay-based.
For his part, Cebu City Police Office Chief of Community Affairs Development Unit, PMAJ Albert Reeves Quilotorio supports the implementation of the ordinance, while Bureau of Fire Protection Chief Legal Fire Officer 1 Phoenix Mackenzie Gocuan pitched that the proposed ordinance is already covered under Ra 10121 or the Philippine Disaster and Management Act of 2010.
Raymond Alvin Garcia, who chairs the council, however, shared that “it does not hurt” for a national law to be supported by a local ordinance.
The proposed ordinance is still subject to final deliberation and approval. /rcg
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