Newly elected mayors urged to retain disaster officers

By: Victor Anthony V. Silva May 21,2016 - 12:24 PM

REPLACING the existing disaster officers in the different cities and municipalities in Cebu once the newly elected mayors assume office after taking their oath on June 30 might spoil the gains of disaster preparedness from recent years.

Capitol officials appealed to newly elected mayors not to replace the existing disaster officials.

Julius Regner, spokesman of the Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), said some local DRRM officers have expressed worry about being replaced once a new mayor takes over.

“I don’t think a disaster office can function without a head. We will talk to the mayors and ask them to let the DRRM officers remain in their positions,” he told reporters. Regner said among the towns whose mayors will be replaced are Medellin, Barili, Daanbantayan, Bantayan, Alcoy and Argao.

Regner said that if a DRRM officer is replaced, the local government unit might subject the new appointee to trainings and workshops that will run for several months.

With La Niña expected to follow after El Niño, Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III said he hoped the newly elected mayors would also consider the coming weather phenomenon when appointing new office heads.

“(I hope) they also have a suitable person to replace so our program in the disaster offices will continue. Hopefully, we will be prepared for any eventuality,” Davide said in a press conference at the Capitol on Thursday.

Medellin Mayor Ricardo Ramirez told Cebu Daily News he doesn’t think his DRRM officer will be replaced once the new mayor assumes office.

“That won’t happen in my case. We created a plantilla position for the disaster officer. She enjoys security of tenure,” he said.

Ramirez’s son, Ricardo Ramirez IV, ran for mayor under the Garcia-led One Cebu this year but lost to Provincial Board Member Joven Mondigo Jr. of the Liberal Party.

Mayor Ramirez said he has no problem with the town’s disaster officer, Gemma Maria Villamor, adding that she is very active in meetings and participates in activities at the provincial Capitol.

The town’s disaster office was created following the devastation that Supertyphoon Yolanda inflicted in northern Cebu in 2013, Ramirez added.

Section 12 of Republic Act No. 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction Act of 2010 states that “there shall be established an LDRRMO in every province, city, and municipality, and a Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committee in every barangay which shall be responsible for setting the direction, development, implementation and coordination of disaster risk management programs within their territorial jurisdiction.”

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TAGS: Alcoy, Argao, Bantayan, Barili, Cebbu, Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Daanbantayan, disaster officers, Medellin

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