Exec proposes national disaster preparedness day

Posted on May 22, 2015

AN OFFICIAL of a climate change adaptation and disaster risk management group has proposed a national preparedness day to “focus on enhancing awareness and readiness to disasters” during the second day of an earthquake resilience conference on Thursday.

“In view of the vulnerability of our country to various disasters, I hereby propose a national preparedness day where we can all focus on enhancing awareness of and readiness to disasters,” Oscar M. Lopez, chairman emeritus of the Oscar M. Lopez (OML) Center for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management Foundation, said in his opening remarks.

“The OML Center is spearheading the move to generate the support of all sectors towards this end. We envision a country that is well-prepared for disasters,” added Mr. Lopez.

In an interview on the sidelines of the conference, Mr. Lopez said that the initial step “requires a meeting with government and [the] business [sector] to discuss how we can implement a national preparedness day.”

“You can say that government, financial institutions and many local businesses are getting ready for a big event like this but it’s a question of getting together so they should call another meeting to bring in other sectors of society so we can talk about preparedness on a national basis,” said Mr. Lopez.

Mr. Lopez said that the “provinces should be represented also.”

“We’re talking only about our area, in the West Valley Fault System on Luzon, mainly in Metro Manila, but if we talk about national preparedness, we should include Mindanao and the Visayas.”

Mr. Lopez described a national preparedness day to be a meeting like the resilience conference “except the representatives of other regions would be present.”

Asked when the national preparedness day should be held Mr. Lopez said that it should be in “the next few months or next year at the latest because the earthquake will be coming in the next 10 years so you have to be ready.” Mr. Lopez said that Luzon residents should not be the only ones concerned as other parts of the country “will have their own earthquakes” like what happened in Cebu and Bohol. -- Elizabeth E. Escaño