DILG chief to mayors: No ‘MIA’ in calamities

DILG chief to mayors: No ‘MIA’ in calamities

SITUATIONAL BRIEFING President Marcos is joined by Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos (right) and other officials in Tacloban City on Thursday for a briefing on the impact of widespread flooding in Eastern Visayas this week. —PPA POOL

SITUATIONAL BRIEFING President Marcos is joined by Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos (right) and other officials in Tacloban City on Thursday for a briefing on the impact of widespread flooding in Eastern Visayas this week. —PPA POOL

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos has reminded local chief executives to ensure that they are not “missing in action” (MIA) in times of calamities and emergency situations in their localities.

The call was made following the visit of President Marcos to Tacloban City on Thursday to oversee the government’s response to the widespread flooding which submerged communities in at least six regions, with Eastern Visayas reporting the heaviest damage.


According to Abalos, the physical presence of mayors is very important during these “challenging situations,” as they are expected to implement and oversee the conduct of appropriate disaster response measures in their towns or cities.


“This is enshrined in the [Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG’S)] Operation L!sto (the agency’s disaster preparedness manual for local government units). Local chief executives must be present before, during and after any disaster. We should comply with it to ensure the safety of our constituents,” he said.

Abalos, however, did not name any officials who were found to have been negligent in responding to the recent disaster. The DILG, in past years, had summoned mayors who were reported to have been absent or out of their localities during the onslaught of typhoons.

An elected local official may be disciplined, suspended, or removed from office for gross negligence, dereliction of duty, or misconduct in office, according to the DILG.

Under Republic Act No. 10121 or Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, the local chief executive is head of the local Disaster Risk Deduction and Management Council (DRRMC) and directly controls the DRRM office of their respective local governments.

The Local Government Code states that the mayor also has the duty to carry out such emergency measures as may be necessary during and in the aftermath of man-made and natural disasters and calamities.

Fatality count

A report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Friday said two were killed in Eastern Visayas following the flooding and rain-induced landslides caused by a shear line and low pressure area affecting several regions in the country since Nov. 14.


But reports from Northern Samar officials said the death toll had risen to four.

The latest fatality was 19-year-old Jasmine Marquita, a native of Barangay Narra in Catarman town.

Marquita, reports said, drowned when the provincial capital was flooded on Nov. 21. Her body was found two days later.

The other fatalities were Zenaida Olesco, 65, and Marissa Jubasan, 39, also from Catarman; and Lara Cabidez, from Pambujan town.

Jubasan drowned while Olesco and Cabidez died after they were hit by fallen trees uprooted during a landslide.

The number of fatalities is still expected to increase, according to the Office of Civil Defense.

The NDRRMC said almost 225,000 families or 880,000 people were affected by the incessant rains in six regions, with Eastern Visayas the worst hit. Officials of Northern Samar and Eastern Samar have declared their provinces under a state of calamity.

During his visit on Thursday, President Marcos instructed government agencies to immediately attend to the needs of calamity victims.

READ: DILG prompts LGUs to prepare for disasters

Data from Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) showed that at least 74,500 families, or more than 370,000 people, sought shelter in the different evacuation centers in Northern Samar while another 16,456 families (61,111 people) were displaced by the recent floods in Eastern Samar.

Gov’t assistance

In Northern Samar, at least 100,000 food packs were already delivered to flood victims, said Grace Subong, DSWD regional director.

The Department of Labor and Employment also committed to provide cash-for-work to flood victims while the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will give lumber for flood victims to rebuild their homes.

In Eastern Samar, Speaker Martin Romualdez donated hygiene kits and grocery packs to the flood victims.

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Among the hardest-hit areas in Eastern Samar were the municipalities of Dolores, Oras, Can-avid, Arteche, Maslog and Jipapad.

TAGS: Calamities, DILG, directive, Disasters, mayors

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