INSIDE PAGE | Fernan A. Gianan:

Capitol failures in Disaster Preparedness

Active COVID-19 cases in the province of Catanduanes is now at its highest since February 13, 2022 when it had 48 cases.

With the number already at 45 as of July 20, the total was around 50 cases by July 23 following the eight new cases announced on July 22.

Provincial health officials are not yet sounding the alarm although various sources said that with the two private hospitals allegedly not accepting COVID patients, the COVID ward at the Eastern Bicol Medical Center was full at one point in recent days.

Some health personnel also had to be pressed into extra duties after several colleagues, including a top health official, contracted the infection.

Despite the sustained increase in new cases, possibly due to the failure of most people to wear masks, there have been no new deaths, with the death toll thankfully stuck at 132.

The problem is that the unpredictable weather is causing many individuals to get sick, the symptoms of which are the same as that of COVID-19.

There could be a lot more coronavirus cases out there than the data being reported to health authorities.

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In a recent meeting of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council chaired by Governor Joseph Cua, the DILG provincial office reported that the provincial government failed to pass the assessment on Disaster Preparedness for the 2021 Seal of Good Local Government (SGLG).

Among the noted failures were the lack of council meeting for the third quarter of CY 2021, absence of Provincial Development Physical Framework Plan, outdated and unapproved Local Climate Change Action Plan, underutilized funding for the Local DRRM, absence of preemptive and forced evacuation plan, lack of evacuation management plan and deficient evacuation centers, unavailability of prepositioned relief goods, lack of system to ensure peace and order during disasters, absence of permanent Operations Center that is supposed to be 24/7 during disasters, lack of permanent personnel at the PDRRMO, lack of Council member trained in Incident Command System, among others.

Also coming under criticism was the design of the now completed three evacuation centers built by the NDCC, with the main hall built with virtually no walls, exposing occupants to dangerous winds during typhoons and the structure to potential failure.

The PDRRMO head was singled out by the chief executive for the lack of improvement in disaster management operations.

Gov. Cua said the PDRRMO in charge preferred driving the ambulance during typhoons instead of managing the office and attending PDRRMC meetings where he has not been seen for years now.

As one DILG official said, the problem should have been addressed years earlier through the simple expedient of using the Individual Performance Commitment and Review (IPCR) ratings as a disciplinary tool.

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On behalf of the Tribune, we sincerely apologize to several advertisers whose ads were not accommodated in the last two issues (July 13 and 20) for lack of space and, at one time, a failure to ensure that all ads had been included in the layout.

There were also articles, based on interviews and data from national agencies, that have yet to see print for the same reason.

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Our apologies likewise for the delay in the release of this issue (July 27) as our printer’s equipment suffered a major malfunction and the parts had to be brought to Metro Manila for repair last week.

Sorry for the delay….

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ABDUL’S LAST DAY AT THE OFFICE. The Boss always insisted that only Abdul should serve his coffee, but yesterday, this conversation happened.

Boss: “Abdul, since the last 8 years you have brought me coffee filled to the brim without spilling even a drop. How do you manage that over these stairs?”

Abdul: “Sir, just before I climb up the stairs, I take a big sip. As I get upstairs, I put it back.”

Today is Abdul’s farewell party.

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