NDRRMC braces for Typhoon Rolly

Robie de Guzman   •   October 30, 2020   •   335

MANILA, Philippines – The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Friday said it has started its preparations for the possible effects of Typhoon Rolly, which according to the state weather bureau, could bring destructive typhoon-force winds.

The NDRRMC said it has alerted its local disaster offices and deployed equipment and personnel ahead of the typhoon’s forecasted landfall over the weekend.

The agency said local government units should also focus on the implementation of pre-emptive evacuation especially in areas that are highly susceptible to flashfloods and landslides.

Local authorities should also keep an eye on areas that were hit by the previous Typhoon Quinta, it added.

Quinta left 22 people dead and four were missing when it pummeled parts of Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas and Central Visayas regions.

“Napakaraming ulan na ang binuhos ng bagyo at saka habagat, ng frontal system kaya saturated na yung kalupaan natin across the entire archipelago. Kapag dumating itong si Bagyong Rolly, mas tumataas yung tyansa ng malakihang pagbaha at pagguho din ng lupa,” said Mark Timbal, spokesperson for the NDRRMC.

The NDRRMC also urged residents to prepare and to heed advisories issued by authorities.

The agency assured it has set aside P890 million worth of food packs and standby fund to aid localities that will be affected by Typhoon Rolly’s onslaught.

The state weather bureau earlier warned that Typhoon Rolly may bring destructive winds up to signal number 4 over some areas in Luzon.

In its 5 p.m. bulletin, the typhoon, with international name Goni, continues to intensify and is likely to make landfall over the Aurora-Quezon area on Sunday evening or Monday morning.

Rolly was last seen 980 kilometers east of Casiguran, Auroro, packing maximum sustained of 185 kilometers per hour (km/h) near the center and gustiness of up to 230 km/h. It is moving westward at 20 km/h.

The state weather agency said that beginning Friday to Saturday morning, the trough of the typhoon and the northeasterly surface windflow will bring light to moderate with at times heavy rains over Bicol Region, Eastern and Central Visayas, Caraga, Northern Mindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula, Batanes, Cagayan, and Isabela.

The typhoon is also likely to bring heavy to intense rains over Northern and Central Luzon and Bicol region beginning Saturday or Sunday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Creation of Dam Committee now under discussion in NDRRMC — Usec. Solidum

Marje Pelayo   •   November 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is currently discussing the creation of a committee that will focus on dam operations in the country.

Ang usapan sa [What’s been discussed in the] NDRRMC during the last emergency meeting ay magkaroon ng isang kumite na permanente na tumingin talaga sa issue ng [is the creation of a committee that will permanently address the issues in] dam safety operations,” Science and Technology Undersecretary Renato Solidum confirmed in an interview with UNTV.

The creation of such a specific committee is what the NDRRMC sees as a solution to ensure the safe operation of dams across the country in consideration of the surrounding communities.

The NDRRMC is composed of agencies concerned with disasters and emergencies. 

Following the deluge in Cagayan and Isabela provinces caused by Typhoon Ulysses, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año proposed the transfer of dam management to the NDRRMC, especially the control on when to release water during the onset of a typhoon.

Many see the release of water from Magat Dam as one reason that worsened the scenario in the said provinces during the typhoon.

Solidum said the proposed committee would not only oversee the releasing of water in dams but every aspect that would ensure dam safety in all forms of disaster such as earthquakes.

The official clarified, however, that the expertise of agencies currently managing the dams like the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and dam operators will still be utilized even after dam management is transferred to the NDRRMC. 

What needs further improvement, Solidum said, is risk communication especially the aspect of giving warning signals to communities on potential threats of the dams.

“When it comes to dam operation, ang makakatulong dito yung [what will help is the] further enhancement of communication down to everyone na magamit siguro yung mga [with the use of] available text blasts o ano pang magandang pamamaraan na ginagawa [or other available means that can be utilized],” he stressed recommending early evacuation of residents from areas most prone to disasters once the PAGASA announces the need to evacuate.

Meanwhile, the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) is now planning to conduct an assessment in rivers and other waterways to determine how time changed their physical features such as their size or capacity.

The NAPOCOR is also considering pushing through with the creation of a National Dam Safety Program (NDSP).

“Mayroon na kaming naging initial na coordination dyan sa NDSP at tuloy-tuloy naman iyon [We had an initial coordination on the NDSP and it’s been ongoing],” confirmed NAPOCOR Dam Management Department Manager Conrado Sison Jr.

“Ang aim is magkaroon tayo ng isang entity or bagay na mag-address nga itong problemang ito [The aim is to have an entity that will address all these problems],” he added. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Taiwan donates disaster relief fund to Phl

Maris Federez   •   November 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) has turned over to the Philippine government its donation for the country’s disaster relief operations.

Representative Peiyung Hsu of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines led the Taiwan delegation in the handing over of the donation worth US$ 200,000 as its “humanitarian assistance for the victims of the recent typhoons including Rolly and Ulysses, at a hand-over ceremony in TECO on 20 November 2020.”

A media release from TECO said Vice Chairman Gilberto F. Lauengco of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office accepted the donation on behalf of the Philippine government.

On the same occasion, Lauengco also received 700,000 pesos donated by Taiwan Association Inc. in the Philippines, the statement added.

TECO said, “As the closest neighbor of the Philippines, Taiwan expresses its heartfelt condolences to the families which lost their beloved ones in the aforementioned tragic disasters and extends a helping hand to the Philippines for its rehabilitation and recovery work.” — /mbmf

TESDA offers free skills training for residents in calamity-stricken areas

Robie de Guzman   •   November 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) said it will conduct free skills training in areas devastated by recent typhoons to help residents recover and revive their livelihood.

TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña gave this assurance as his agency conducted relief operations and turned over solar street light panels and portable charging stations in Marikina City and other affected communities in Region 2, Bicol, CALABARZON, and MIMAROPA.

Lapeña said they are closely coordinating with local government units (LGU) to continue to deliver its programs and help those who have been displaced and rendered homeless by the spate of typhoons that hit the country in the previous weeks.

He said TESDA regional offices have been consulting LGUs and affected residents on the implementation of relevant training programs that could help them find livelihood opportunities.

Lapeña said post-calamity assistance will come in the form of free skills training on carpentry, electrical installation and maintenance, plumbing and other construction-related courses “to help those whose houses were damaged be able to rebuild their dwellings without the need to hire additional carpenters and electricians.”

“In this way, the residents themselves, once equipped with the right skills, can help one another in re-constructing their houses.  Malaking bagay ito na makakatipid sila sa gastusin sa pagpapatayo ng kanilang bahay na nasira ng bagyong Rolly at Uysses,” he said.

The TESDA chief said cookery training program will also be offered for free in evacuation centers and affected communities “as an immediate relief.”

“By implementing a training program on cookery, the evacuees and residents themselves will have the resources to prepare and cook foods for their own consumption and would not be heavily dependent on relief food packs,” he said.

“Once they finish these training programs, these skills will remain useful which they can use to pursue jobs or new livelihoods,” he added.

Lapeña said TESDA trainers will conduct the training at the nearest and most conducive site located in the affected areas so that the trainees will no longer have to travel to the training centers.

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