The nation’s capital is not yet ready for the “Big One,” and Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso believes the people have the right to know.
This after the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) admitted to Domagoso that Manila, unlike neighboring cities, does not have concrete DRRM management plan nor a detailed hazard map.
CDRRMO officials made the admission on Tuesday afternoon, July 2, as the Mayor convened members of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council at the Manila City Hall.
During the meeting, Domagoso chided city disaster risk officials and hospital chiefs for lacking a concrete emergency plan should a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Manila.
In addition, the Mayor even found that the Manila CDRRMO does not have a prepared response to other possible disasters such as downed city cell sites and mass shooting incidents.
He also lamented the city’s lack of resources to respond and prevent risk of disasters, particularly in hospital bed capacity, power generators, and available personnel, among others.
“I will fire you if you don’t admit that we are not ready. You have to be honest with yourself. You can even challenge me at the Civil Service (Commission) if I fire you,” Domagoso told council members.
“Here in this disaster council, mabigat ang ating responsibility, because lives are at stake,” he stressed.
Domagoso immediately convened the disaster council members upon receiving a report from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on the Manila City government’s disaster preparedness.
Based on the DILG report, the Manila City government’s preparedness to respond to any disaster was deemed a “total failure.”
For instance, Manila’s command center for disaster response, dubbed as the “Emergency Response Assistance Program” or ERAP, was found to be dilapidated.
Upon inspection by the new Manila Public Information Office, CCTV cameras operated by the command center only cover the City Hall area and the Carriedo area. Everything else in Manila is not monitored, according to disaster response employees.
Employees bared that ERAP doesn’t even have its own hotline, saying that they only use their personal mobile numbers to communicate with the public.
In turn, Domagoso challenged council members to come up with a new disaster risk reduction and management plan and a new hazards, vulnerability and risk assessment report for the city.
“We now have a receptive local government that is open to new ideas. This is your time to shine,” the Mayor told council members.
“In one or two weeks time, you must present a different plan of action as if you are in command and in control of the situation,” he said. “Work as if you’re the Mayor. Put your best effort into it.”