Cabinet preparing roadmap for disaster response

Posted at 02/16/14 2:16 PM

MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III has directed his Cabinet to come up with a detailed roadmap for an effective response to disasters so that there won’t be a repeat of the aftermath of Yolanda, which will soon mark 100 days since it hit Visayas.

In an interview with radio dzRB, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the roadmap should be ready before the onset of the rainy season in June.

“This will include adoption of new emergency alert protocols for storm surge, floods, and landslides; strict implementation of no build zones along coastlines; and higher standards for disaster resiliency of buildings and infrastructure,” he said.

The government will also set up an all-weather communication system that will include satellite phones and mobile communications kits for uninterrupted connectivity despite power service interruption, he added.

Coloma said Aquino has already mentioned the principle of “build back better” last December and that the roadmap is part of this.

“The President has also said that, with the worsening effects of climate change, we must make even greater measures to adapt including reinforcing our supply of power,” he added.

Coloma stressed that the government has not forgotten the victims of the Yolanda tragedy amid threats of a class suit against Aquino.

“Affected families now living in bunkhouses and temporary shelters will be provided permanent housing in new human settlements with facilities for livelihood activities. New school buildings, municipal halls, public markets, and town centers will be constructed,” he said.

The Tindog People’s Network, composed of Yolanda survivors, their families and supporters, blamed the administration over its alleged criminal neglect to the victims of Yolanda due to what they claim is the government’s poor disaster preparedness, rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts.

They also plan to march to Malacanang.

Coloma said there is no assurance they will be allowed to enter Malacanang because of security reasons.

He assured them, however, that Aquino has always been open to dialogues.