MANILA, Philippines— The Department of Science and Technology on Thursday said it will give Metro Manila mayors “disaster SIM cards” in which it will course urgent weather warnings that they can use as basis for suspension of school and work during rainy days.
This was announced after Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II tasked the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services (Pagasa) Thursday to be the sole agency to directly call the 17 local chief executives of Metro Manila to relay weather advisories.
“Nais lang natin masiguro na hindi tayo magtuturuan later on. Ngayon pa lang habang wala pang ulan at baha, plantsahin na natin ito,” Roxas said before attendees of which include mayors and representatives from Pagasa and the Department of Science and Technology.
(We want to avoid getting caught in a blame game. While there is still no rain, let’s finalize this.)
He said Pagasa should make sure that they get the attention of mayors when a warning or advisory related to weather needs to be relayed.
Aside from the mayors, Roxas said Pagasa should also send advisories to the city’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management officer, and city administrator.
“Ang point ay nagising sila, na-alert sila at nasimulan nila ang process sa paggawa ng decision (The point is they have been alerted so they can make their decision),” Roxas said.
During the meeting, some mayors complained they have not been receiving the proper information from the weather bureau.
Roxas called the command conference to assess the levels of disaster preparedness of each city in Metro Manila, as well as to map out necessary plans in dealing with natural disasters such as floods, typhoons and earthquakes.
“This is to ensure that our local chief executives, being the decision-makers, are ready, they know what to do especially this time of the rainy season,” said Roxas.
Asked if he was satisfied in flood preparations, Roxas said there are some details in the plan that still need improvement, including the designation of permanent officers for each local government unit, and the auditing of each city’s preparedness for possible flooding.
Just recently, typhoon Labuyo claimed the lives of at least eight people and left about P1 billion worth of damage to properties.
Mayors present during the meeting at PNP’s National Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City were Lani Cayetano of Taguig, Benhur Abalos of Mandaluyong, Maribel Eusebio of Pasig, Oscar Malapitan of Caloocan, Antonino Calixto of Pasay, Len Oreta of Malabon, Edwin Olivarez of Paranaque City, Jaime Fresnedi of Muntinlupa, Jaime Medina of Pateros, and Herbert Bautista of Quezon City.
Absent leaders sent their respective representatives.
Also present were Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino and Chief Superintendent Marcelo Garbo, National Capital Region Police Office director.