Representatives of city government offices who observed during the community flood drill of Barangay Tagalag on Saturday, September 28, were impressed with the orderliness with which the whole proceedings were carried out but pointed out that there were still rooms for improvement.
“I am very satisfied,” said Chief of Valenzuela City Police Police Superintendent Rhoderick Armamento. “I commend everyone for the teamwork I saw today. There was coordination and cooperation among the different units.”
The flood drill was held as part of the Partners for Resilience (PfR) program, a disaster management program for communities funded by Netherlands-based humanitarian organizations led by the Netherlands Red Cross.
The program is implemented in nine countries, including the Philippines. Tagalag was chosen in 2011 as one of the 28 PfR project sites in the country.
Besides Tagalag, the barangays of Balangkas, Coloong, Malanday and Wawang Pulo comprise the PfR project sites in Valenzuela City.
The Tagalag drill was participated in by 175 families, or 391 individuals. Children numbered 136.
Armamento particularly commended Tagalag barangay captain Rene Bernardo, who, Armamento said, relentlessly monitored the mock rescue operations from the command post in Tagalag Elementary School via two-way radio.
The mock rescue operations included rescuing a pregnant woman and an elderly woman stuck in their homes, and a fisherman drowning in a fish pond.
Armamento advised barangays rescuers that they should check the vital signs of the person being rescued right away, even in the water.
The “evacuees” were housed at the Tagalag Elementary School.
Armamento also praised the Red Cross 143 volunteers, barangays health workers, and teachers for the orderly operations at the evacuation center.
“Each room had a team leader, which made distribution of relief goods easy,” Armamento said.
City Social Welfare and Development Office social worker Maria Cristina Ramos approved of the designation of breastfeeding station for mothers and an activity room for children.
Ramos, however, said the welfare desk, which was placed in a hut at least 10 meters from the gate, should have been placed near the gate, where the evacuees could have registered upon reaching the evacuation center.
Ramos also said the evacuation center managers could also cook hot meals in the canteen kitchen.
“The dry goods could be handed out to the evacuees leaving the center, to tide them over during the days they are cleaning their homes,” said Ramos.
Ramos also observed that the drill participants “internalized” the whole drill, or acted as if in a real evacuation.
Rosalina Canoy, a resident of Gumamela Street, even brought with her a bag of clothes and beddings.
“I woke up as early as four in the morning to prepare for the drill,” said Canoy, who came with her six-year-old nephew.
“It is important that people act real in drills so that they are fully prepared when the real disaster comes,” said Ramos.
Both Armamento and Ramos rated the barangay Tagalag’s efforts nine out of ten.