CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Pampanga, one of three provinces that struggled to overcome the impact of Mt. Pinatubo’s 1991 eruptions and lahar flows, was chosen as the country’s best Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC).
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana conferred the 20th Gawad Kalasag national award to Vice Gov. Dennis Pineda, vice chair of the Pampanga PDRRMC, at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Amphitheater on Tuesday.
The Pampanga PDRRMC earned the national award after it won the regional Gawad Kalasag Hall of Fame for five consecutive years. In 2016, it was second in the 18th National Gawad Kalasag.
Cultivating the collaboration between government and the private sector has been one of the strengths of the Pampanga PDRRMC, its action officer, Angelina Blanco, said.
Among its breakthroughs are the construction of three permanent evacuation centers; the land banking of 67.7 hectares, which are intended for future relocation sites; and a house tagging mechanism to prioritize the rescue of the elderly, persons with disabilities and children.
Pampanga reported organizing a wide network for information dissemination in disaster preparedness composed of 550 public school teachers and 9,760 community volunteers who assisted village leaders.
It was certified to be well-equipped for rescue missions and medical emergencies, counting the five backhoes used to extract silt and deepen creeks and rivers year-round.
The council conducted humanitarian assistance for victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) in November 2013, in Tacloban City and Samar province, Typhoon “Lando” (international name: Koppu) in Nueva Ecija province in October 2015, and flashfloods in Bataan province and Olongapo City in 2018.
Apart from holding training sessions and drills in evacuation management, it led the planting of mangroves and bamboo in coastal communities to create a natural shield against storm surges from Manila Bay. —Tonette Orejas
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