Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
As Negros Oriental winds up its celebration of the Buglasan Festival of Festivals today, feelings of ambivalence dominate as residents are divided over experiencing the merriment, and watching over their kin and properties after the killer quake hit parts of Central Visayas, including Dumaguete City, Tuesday this week.
However, even at the risk of sounding apathetic with people mumbling that life must, or should, go on, there is still no substitute for being prepared for any eventuality. As the saying goes, better safe than sorry.
Thus, the serious effort of the Dumaguete City government in implementing the mandate of Congress through Republic Act 10121 Series of 2010, to establish a Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office three years ago is worthy of emulation. Initiated by Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria during his first term of office in 2010, the DRRM manages Rescue 348, composed of 40 volunteers who undergo training on various forms of search and rescue operations, at least three times a year.
As statistics have shown and as proven by trends in the past years, the top five calamities in Negros Oriental were typhoons and flash floods, fire, epidemic like contagious diseases resulting from calamities, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. By far, three major calamities have struck Negros Oriental one after the other – typhoon Sendong on Dec. 17, 2011; a strong quake on Feb. 6, 2012; followed by typhoon Pablo in the early part of December 2012.
Calamities strike at any time and often without warning, especially earthquakes. Efforts of both government and private agencies at preparation for any disaster is one thing. However, if these are combined with close coordination among agencies concerned as well as with the people, then, we will be able to overcome and surmount these disasters.
If we cannot stop these occurrences, let us be aware of what needs to be done and prepare for them ahead of time.*