It was tagged as national coordinating council of old as its task was primarily to do coordination among and between disaster councils at all levels, from the barangay, municipality, city, province and region. The label was changed recently as one for disaster risk reduction, impliedly to employ strategies to reduce the risk of disasters. Such entity is given the powers and logistics to be prepared at all times to administer interventions that would, above all else, reduce risk upon persons and properties in times of calamities and disasters. It presumably does functions it used to, chiefly, coordination with its counterparts at the local levels.
The disaster council is an entity that functions occasionally, mainly during calamities and disasters. It is, akin to the election commission, dormant during long periods. By the nature of such occasional task, it is expected to be ready when needed, preparing during the long periods of inactivity. Unfortunately, cramming seems the convenient strategy that it is often caught unprepared when calamities and disasters strike.
If the recent calamity that hit provinces in Luzon is to be the yardstick, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and its local counterparts deserve to be reduced to insignificance as it utterly failed to reduce risk of the recent disaster. It was practically caught in deep slumber as tremendous volume of water inundated communities, drowning peoples, animals and crops. The floods wrought devastation upon homes, farms and infrastructure that is now being touted as having exceeded the havoc brought by typhoon Ondoy.
Viewed from such backdrop, people may be swayed to accept the suggestion that the recent typhoon is indeed more devastating than Ondoy. But a closer look at the situation may led us to the fact that there may just have been lapses if not utter failure by the agencies concerned to reduce the impact and destruction of the typhoon and floods. In the first place, the flood now appears as a human error in terms of managing water resources.
By and by, we reach the realization that the huge funds allocated to the government agency tasked primarily to reduce the risk of disaster, It failed to manage water resources, resulting in the onslaught of voluminous waters that wrecked homes and entire communities. No reduction had ever been felt by the people, especially those who suffered from the floods that submerged their homes and destroyed their properties.
On the contrary, the risk brought by the disaster even increased which caused tremendous devastation upon hapless people who were caught in the middle of inundations. It seems timely to reduce the council to oblivion for failing to reduce risks of disaster that it is primarily mandated to perform. What we saw was a council doing data gathering of the extent of damage caused by the disaster, a manifest indication of its failure to perform disaster risk reduction.
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By: Al Ellema
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