Davao Oriental won awards for preparedness


MATI CITY—That Davao Oriental is still groping in the dark a week after Typhoon “Pablo” struck leaves serious doubts about the four awards it has won so far for disaster preparedness. Pablo killed 337 people in the province.

Gov. Corazon Malanyaon received on Aug. 1 the Gawad Kalasag for heading the Best Prepared Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in a ceremony at the Apo View Hotel in Davao City.

The award was sponsored by the Regional Risk Reduction and Management Council and the Office of the Civil Defense.

But it was not the first for the Malanyaon-headed council to receive such distinction. In 2009, it was named third-best prepared local disaster coordinating council all over the country, next only to Albay and Antique.

In 2010, it again placed third, next to Bulacan and Albay.

Last year, the province received an award for being the best prepared local government unit in Mindanao in disaster management.

On its official website, Davao Oriental boasts of the awards and even says that it has “considered public safety one of its priority concerns.”

“The province has allocated funds for equipment, rescue training, fire and earthquake drills in schools and workplaces, and lately on the construction of the PDRRMC (Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) headquarters and operation center,” the website said.


‘In command’

Then, Pablo struck. As of Sunday night, the PDRRMC had recorded a total of 337 people killed—most of them hit by fallen trees at the height of the typhoon.

Malanyaon said in an interview that she was “in command” before the typhoon made landfall, calling the town mayors to implement preemptive evacuations in risky areas.

“We were ready,” she said.

No warning

Some residents, however, said they were not warned.

“We were only told to monitor what’s happening on the radio. We did that but power was down at 8 p.m. of Dec. 3,” a resident of Baganga town told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

A village councilwoman in Baganga said there was no order for residents to evacuate. “Really, there was none,” she said.

There were forced evacuations in some areas. People were hauled to schools, municipal gyms and churches. But the typhoon did not spare what should have been a safe haven for the evacuees.

Gathering in unsafe place

Many were either killed or injured when strong winds ripped off roofs and walls of designated evacuation centers. It was like gathering people in one unsafe place.

The municipal gymnasium in Baganga town was twisted, folded like a tin can. Cateel Central Elementary School was smashed, with only the flagpole left standing. Churches and government buildings in both towns were also damaged. People had nowhere to run.

“No matter how prepared you were, the force of  Typhoon Pablo was simply overwhelming. It was beyond our control,” Malanyaon said in a statement released on Monday.


The province was neither ready for what the typhoon had left behind—deaths, injuries, the missing and the homeless.

It took more than a day before relief goods arrived in the affected areas. Baogo Bridge, which connects the towns of Caraga and Baganga, collapsed at the height of the typhoon.

Vice Gov. Jose Mayo Almario said it would have been easier to transport goods from Mati City, the seat of power of the provincial government, to the affected towns eastward if the bridge was not destroyed.

Almario, over the weekend, had to cross the river using a bamboo raft to transport the relief goods that he and his family had prepared for some evacuees in Baganga town.

The provincial government has been sending relief goods, being repacked at the capitol, to the affected towns of Baganga, Cateel and Boston using a Philippine Navy boat.

Eight-hour boat trip

The boat, however, has to travel eight hours from Mati City before it reaches the isolated towns.

“We used to be typhoon-free. That’s no longer the case now. In rebuilding our houses, we really have to make sure it is built to withstand supertyphoons,” Malanyaon said in the statement.

There was no mention of building typhoon-proof evacuation centers or bridges that could withstand logs being swept away by swollen rivers.

Originally posted: 6:08 pm | Monday, December 10th, 2012

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  • Ommm

    Filipinos just love to give themselves “awards”….this should stand testament to how valid those awards really are…….   

    • bahaykubo1015

      Exactly….We are “award oriented”…..Just observe how many Filipino homes here and abroad having lots of trophies for award this and award that…
      Quite impressive for foreigners who are unaware of this Filipino mentality….. patting too much each others back

      • AlexanderAmproz

        It’s show an psychologic inferiority colonial complex mentality…

      • Loggnat

        ‘inferiority colonial complex mentality…’ /// You should see the American homes ….. complete with trophy rooms or cabinets. They call such behavior as The Drive for Excellence, Over- Achievement, and  Doing the best that one can do. :)

  • mandaya moore

    province po, not city. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/36O4ZGE5JY24XE4XQOXBM6O4WE Klepto

    “Most prepared” sa salita lang pero hindi sa gawa

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/MOZIOLWBVCNPTPUOMR34CKLFFM dabeast

      bale ok yun papel nun naievaluate kaya nag ka award pero sa actual nagkulang sila maraming ganyanLGU’s na  magaling sa papel pero sa actual wala its time to review yun plan na ginawa nila

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AR3F3RNQX4U3PKBI526NJI6BYM Jose

      “The municipal gymnasium in Baganga town was twisted, folded like a tin can. The Cateel Central Elementary School was wiped off, with only the flagpole left standing. Churches and government buildings in both towns were also damaged. People had nowhere to run to.”

      Overwhelming force of nature.  Those buildings were made evacuation centers, they are ready but what hit them is something else that they are not prepared or even have imagined to have – remember that this is the first time they experienced a typhoon and a super one at that. It’s like Saddam preparing for an invasion from the beach fortifying and even burying his tanks so it will not be that vulnerable, then Schwarzcoff attacked from the desert behind them, no contest.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Some centuries old Spanish time houses still standing, why ?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AR3F3RNQX4U3PKBI526NJI6BYM Jose

        You mean bahay na bato? As the name implies, it must be strong.  We have several ones in our town in Bicol and they withstand typhoons after typhoons outperforming the Gabaldon schools which are one of the best public constructions of all times in the Philippines.  Fact is when the heir of one of these houses who is successful in the US decided to restore (not renovate) the old house, the workers were dumbfounded to know that not a single nail was used, so it took them more than a year to do the restoration job, making dovetails and “mitsa” all around.

      • Karabkatab

        Maybe its high time people go back to the time honored principles and standards in housing, “Function over Form”.  For areas often visited by strong typhoons, concrete gutter is a must.  If you can afford concrete roofing, the better.  For large mirror windows, please see to it that you have provisions where you can insert wooden planks before the typhoon arrives. Never sacrifice building rigidity in exchange for current trends in the present world of home designs.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AR3F3RNQX4U3PKBI526NJI6BYM Jose

        That will be good. 
         However it will be a little costly too.  I also advised at least gage 26 ordinary corrugated roofing as ordinary corrugated sheet is the strongest of all the roofings (the corrugations act like stiffeners plus the more fancy ones are made of softer materials to allow pressing into the desired shapes) nailed or screwed at every other corrugation at the edges and capped and nailed at every purlins on the sides, dapat masinsin ang pako.  This should be done to prevent the wind from flapping the roof.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Since Spanish time, common sense is gone,
        probably with the two American holocaustics
        40 % of the population was exterminated after
        Andras Bonifacio killing…..
        WW 2 extermination numbers are kept secret !

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AR3F3RNQX4U3PKBI526NJI6BYM Jose

        Cost-benefit ratio.  some wants to gamble, others just don’t have the money so If they can build a shelter with the little they have they will.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Philippines is in a pity state
        thank’s corruption and rubbish leaders.
        Not forgivable in a such rich country.
        To be Christian, isn’t it to share ?

      • Loggnat

        They were built to withstand the wind with its 2-4 ft. stone/rock foundation and thick walls, structurally reinforced roof trusses built to carry a heavy load of Spanish roof tiles(tisa), and iron brackets and bolts secured to large tree trunk size posts buried deep in the ground. That’s why! They built it to last and withstand those typhoon winds that regularly visits the country.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Spanish time houses are built with Chinese carpentry
        knowhow, Philippines tisa roofing too.

        Pilipino’s don’t care the past and experiment, 
        as they don’t have any future, living only on daily basis.

        Those horrors will happen again and again,
        every lessons are useless, 
        as long as you don’t remember the past experiences !

      • Loggnat

        Chinese carpentry??? I think not, there are still similarly built old houses in the provinces of Spain that are habitable today. I’m sure there were very few if any Chinese when those structures were built. Chinese builds excellent houses too, I agree to that but how come there old Spanish houses in provinces with none or few Chinese communities?

  • AlexanderAmproz

    One day Arroyo told Pilipino’s are clean, but still one of the World dirtiest country,
    but Pinoy’s where happy by the statement, no need much to drive ignorant’s satisfied.

  • jga94

    Maybe there was something wrong with the criteria used by Gawad Kalasag Awwards….I heard this province hardly ever gets visited by strong typhoons kaya probably, experience had something to do with it as well…plus the fact that this typhoon–judging from the twisted metals from the buildings we have seen on TV–was really strong…

  • pulis

    Puro corruption  ang mga award na yan..Nilagyan yan para manalo sila…Kaya hwag kayong maniwala sa mga award award nayan..

  • disqusted0fu

    looks like the LGUs were somewhat noynoying this time!

  • http://www.facebook.com/roygponce Roy Ponce

    It’s being like PacMan who won 8 titles and fell flat. Would you conclude he was not really prepared? Nico Alconaba, your article lacks logic. Shallow thinking. Inciting blame rather than encouragement. Your journalism style is rotten and doesn’t help. Also, check your facts.

  • AlexanderAmproz

    If there are no safe places to stay, 
    it’s thank’s of Land grabbing, legal Loggings, “legal” Mining’s,
    all of them blanketed by Corruptions.

    Philippines is more fun !

    Easy to know where the guilty one hiding,
    standing in front everybody with an provocative satisfied arrogance,
    surrounded by their criminal goons, saw machines experts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/raul.pasmado Raul Pasmado


  • http://www.facebook.com/raul.pasmado Raul Pasmado


    • AlexanderAmproz

      In the Philippines,
      corruption, ignorances and Clergy are stronger than climate change and anything else !

  • jolly_baby

    Award is a joke… nakakahiya naman.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YOQGNNPLWH3PHXCDXMGN57GDNM Jhon

    Is this article news?  It appears trying to be so but the writer exerted extra effort to agitate rather than inform.  In the aftermath of a disaster, we do not need this kind of tabloid writing.

    Someone here already pointed it out — how did a previously typhoon-free province got disaster readiness award?  Maybe the criteria was measured against preparedness against a mild storm, which was the worst that visited them before?  If there is some index measuring strength of typhoon vs. damage to lives and properties, I strongly suspect that Batanes will come out on top year after year.  Not because their local government is prepared (maybe they are, I do not know) but because preparedness is in the Ivatan’s genes.  And this is where the focus should be — how prepared are the people themselves.

    Lastly, instead of criticising him, readers should note that the Vice Governor personally delivered the relief goods.  And he did this under very difficult conditions.

    • Garo Ungaro

      again, we have to rethink, how will we construct houses, materials to be use…to withstand this kind of super typhoon.. every community. must have a mandatory safe houses…managed by the barangay… capable of housing the community temporary…to minimize damage to human lives…

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AR3F3RNQX4U3PKBI526NJI6BYM Jose

        Lessons learned.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Pilipino’s never learned any lessons, 
        as the past don’t exist, the future too !

      • shots_fired

        maganda yang sinasabi mo pre kung may budget, tingnan mo nalang mga tao doon mga mahihirap. Anung uunahin nila ang bahay o ang kumakalam na sikmura??

    • AlexanderAmproz

      Please, life style check of the Governor !

      Do his Mansion was affected ?

  • romeyo chill

    I wonder why they use schools as evacuation areas?  

    • Loggnat

      Schools are also used as evacuation facilities in Florida but it depends on its location and the classification of strength of its construction. There is actually a classification of shelter construction that was in place for nuclear shelter and was modified, upgraded and used for hurricane shelter classification. Newer schools located inland and in higher elevation were specifically constructed to withstand a minimum of Category 4 Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale hurricane and are designated as Hurricane shelters. Other hurricane preparations such as tree trimming of those that potentially can cause power outage are regularly done to minimized loss of power due to trees being uprooted and falling branches. Homeowners and business owners are responsible for trimming trees in their properties and can invalidate their home insurance if not done and had caused damage to the home. Homes and other structures must be built according to the building code that includes hurricane safe structures and reinforced roof attachment methods ie. steel brackets on poured concrete portion of the walls. All windows and doors are also required to have hurricane shutters and not just tape criss-crossing the glass window. All these high wind precaution allows the homeowners the ability to stay in their houses and use them for shelter, that is if the home is in higher elevation and not in a flood or sea surge zone. There is a lot more to proactive hurricane/ typhoon preparation that can be done by everybody and it is not limited to the government’s reactive prepositioned disaster personnel and supplies.

    • AlexanderAmproz

      Only backward countries have acacias tree as schools,
      in a normal world respecting children’s, no fake text books,
      schools are the safest places and strongest buildings,
      as children’s are the country future…!

      What Future for the Philippines,
      looking the way the country cares the children’s,
      do the leaders believe there is no Future outside sending corruption money abroad with one hand ?
      sending the Mother’s abroad for slavery,
      and to chew the remittances with the other hand, thank’s lack of wise spending money education by the poor who are on purpose not teach HOW TO COUNT at school, among fake text books ?

      What a shame again ?

      This show the pity state of the nation of fake leaders,
      mostly under Trapos and Clergy control !

  • kalikasanipagtanggol

    baka naman yung mga opisyales lang ng lugar ang laging handa kasama na si gobernor at mayor?

  • 12JEM

    Those awards are garbage. The award granters/makers are therefore garbage makers.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AR3F3RNQX4U3PKBI526NJI6BYM Jose

    Japan is one of the most disaster prepared countries in the world doing regular drills.  Did they have zero casualty during the earthquake and tsunami? No, thousands still perished.  However, could it have been worse? Definitely and the same thing applies here.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GNVLZW44Z6WLXHG6GML3JF3R3A LV

      Jose, that was a magnitude 9 earthquake, with a 100 ft tsunami affecting 1500km of coastline. Typhoon Pablo, in contrast, is just a  typhoon affecting a comparatively smaller area (note: this is the same strength as those super typhoons that regulary pass through Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Aurora, Quezon, Bicol Region, but you dont hear any casualties by the hundreds when such calamity happens).  

      And anyways, have you heard of any typhoon in Japan which causes 100s casualties ? Just accept it, the disaster preparedness officials in Mindanao are EPIC FAIL – 2 years in a row. They should resign or imprisoned for not performing their duties.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AR3F3RNQX4U3PKBI526NJI6BYM Jose

        What’s the difference?  People feeling ready and suddenly swamped by the unexpected.  Category 4 typhoon is not something to sneer at, Sandy was category 2 and wreck Havoc in New Jersey.  Smaller area doesn’t mean safer, you consider the terrain and population distribution.  You read the news before you comment, the survivor themselves says they thought they were safe (which could be true for several years back) on the evacuation center that got swamped.

        Typhoon in Japan having hundreds of casualties?  Are you kidding?  Japan’s location alone ensure that no super typhoon will reach the area, temperate zone my friend, they may get something stronger than habagat and that’s it, but still sometimes it kills a few dozen too..

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GNVLZW44Z6WLXHG6GML3JF3R3A LV

        Tsk… tsk.. tsk.. The problem with your analogy is that you are comparing apples to oranges (i.e., massive M9 earthquake with tsunami vs a regular typhoon). If you want good comparison: look for Typhoon Megi which crossed northeastern Luzon in 2010. It was a Cat 5, but casualties were 19 only.

        Who said there are no super typhoons ever crossing Japan? It is in a temperate zone, true, but they do get extratropical super typhoons. For example, Typhoon Vera crossed Japan in 1959 at Category 5 strength (it did cause massive casualties, but they have improved their warning and emergency systems since then). But what happened in Mindanao? Only a year after Sendong, again they suffered massive casualties. 

        And by the way, the geohazard assessments for areas in Mindanao have long been available from MGB, identifying the town of New Bataan as very high risk for flooding and landslides. How come the officials are not aware of this? The map even shows specific danger zones unsuitable for residential areas and community centers. How come officials allowed development and even located evacuation centers in these hazardous areas?

        Your local officials and emergency teams in Mindanao are caught totally unprepared. Just shear incompetence on their part, my friend.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AR3F3RNQX4U3PKBI526NJI6BYM Jose

        Tsk tsk tsk.  The problem with you is that you don’t try to understand an argument before replying.  Repeat: 
        People feeling ready and suddenly swamped by the UNEXPECTED.  

         Thousands still perished.  However, COULD IT HAVE BEEN WORSE? Definitely. 

        Did I say more? 

        OK, I stand corrected: Typhoon Vera Cat 5, you’re right but it comes not so very often just like in Mindanao, good comparison actually.  The death toll: 5,098 people were killed in Japan with an additional 38,921 people injured.  WHOA!

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GNVLZW44Z6WLXHG6GML3JF3R3A LV

        “People feeling ready and suddenly swamped by the UNEXPECTED”. LOL.

        Well NOTHING UNEXPECTED with Pablo – in fact it has been tracked for a week and all models showed that the probability of hitting Mindanao at super typhoon strength is high and risk for flooding and landslide is extreme. NOTHING UNEXPECTED in New Bataan being flood and landslide prone areas – the information is readily available from relevant government agencies. In fact you can visit Mines and Geosciences Bureau website and you can download the hazard maps for all towns in Philippines

        The 5,098 killed in Japan was 1950s record – note that at the time, there is limited warning system available let alone real time monitoring like we have right now. A record 60 years ago is not something to compare. There are other Cat 4/5 which passed Japan over the decades since and not had exceeded 100s in casualties.

        I am just surprised the “emergency preparedness” councils and government officials were just sitting ducks not being prepared well enough for extreme storm in spite of several warnings of an approaching violent typhoon and the lessons from extreme casualties from Sendong last year. Well, everything, was “UNEXPECTED”, I suppose?

        You can go on trusting your Dodo-brained politicians, government officials, emergency councils, etc. Give them some rubbish outstanding awards, if you will. Dont blame them though if there are high casualties, because everything, anyways, are a consequence of the “UNEXPECTED”. LOL

        And you say.. “Thousands still perished. However, COULD IT HAVE BEEN WORSE? Definitely.” But come on, Jose! It is not a question of could it have been worse!! You should be asking “COULD IT HAVE BEEN BETTER? i.e., LESS CASUALTIES” — definitely, the answer should be YES. Unfortunately, it seems you have very low standards and expectations for accountability of our public officials.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AR3F3RNQX4U3PKBI526NJI6BYM Jose

        It seems you have a perfect scenario in your mind.  It will never happen in any part of the world much more in the Philippines. You yourself has pointed out that in Japan it has been 60 years AND THEY HAVE BEEN IMPROVING ON THE SYSTEM EVER SINCE. Still they have casualties up to now. As pointed out but you won’t acknowledge the survivor themselves says so, they didn’t expect that much!

        And about Japan, you accepted that still, there are casualties, right?  Talas is just something a little above a habagat and it killed almost 100 persons.  Tsk, tsk.  It could have been better, YES! and it could have been worse…

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GNVLZW44Z6WLXHG6GML3JF3R3A LV

        Typhoon Megi in 2010 was cat 5, but what did people and officials up north have done to avoid large casualties?

        Sendong was below Habagat – 1200++ got killed; and now Pablo, possibly even more. What lessons learned did the disaster preparedness council and local officials in Mindanao learned from Sendong? NONE. Bunch of dodos, 2 years in a row, EPIC FAIL.

      • Pongkam

        Manny Pacquiao prepared for his fight with Marquez, but still got knock out, The US is prepared for any eventuality but still they were not spared, calamity or otherwise. Davao Oriental prepared well for Pablo but still it got wiped out, awards are nothing to do with it, but the structures aren’t just built for typhoons like Pablo. Houses are made of lumber and nipa, compare that with the stone houses of Batanes, this Pablo is new to us here in Davao Oriental and Murphys Law applies to everybody, even the best of them….btw did you give your share of help or assistance to our unfortunate fellowmen….. Just asking

      • http://twitter.com/drachir888 Drachir Metal

        Your analogy is ludricous. Loopholes in most aspect.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AR3F3RNQX4U3PKBI526NJI6BYM Jose

        OK, what you want to hear?  A category 4 typhoon is something to sneer at?  Where is the loophole in quoting a survivor that they evacuated and didn’t expect what happened?  They were ready but they got something else sums it up.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZKCGLVFAGUVX7NIUY4E5PIPRKQ Gene

    They were best prepared when there was no calamity.  But when Pablo struck, they were not prepared.  Nakatulog yata si Gov at Mayor?  Better throw away that award!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GNVLZW44Z6WLXHG6GML3JF3R3A LV

    Nothing wrong with recognition and awards. However, it seems like this worthless and meaningless award was designed to glorify self-aggrandizing politicians and awarded by their overly enthusiastic minions from RRRMC and the Office of the Civil Defense. The problem with awards for “pogi points” (and not for actual exemplary performance) is that they encourage complacency and inaction. Ultimately, it’s the public who will suffer.


    • AlexanderAmproz

      Corruption again !

  • Lara Kulit

    leason learned, do not wait for forced evacuation order…when you see there is typhoon coming to your place be prepared and dont blame others afterwards

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