The Valenzuela City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (VCDRRMO) recently kicked off this year’s National Disaster Consciousness Month (NDCM) by organizing a motorcade and a disaster preparedness skills competition.
This year’s theme, “Kahandaan at Pagtugon sa Sakuna, Tungkulin ng Bawat Isa,” emphasizes the importance of making disaster risk reduction and management a personal responsibility and duty of every Filipino.
The motorcade, which started at 7 am, began at the ALERT Center Compound and ended at the Valenzuela City Astrodome. The locally funded vehicles, such as the city government’s ambulances, rescue trucks, fire trucks, and amphibious trucks were showcased at the motorcade.
After the motorcade, a seminar was held at the Valenzuela City Astrodome for the 4th Disaster Preparedness Skills Olympics and Benchmarking.
The three different contests to be rolled out this month consist of (1) the Basic First Aid Challenge, on July 7 and July 16 at the Valenzuela City Astrodome; (2) the Fire Rescue Challenge, on July 16 at the ALERT Center Grounds; and (3) the Boat Rescue Challenge, on July 23 at the Polo River in Barangay Poblacion.
In an interview, Disaster Preparedness Office Head Dr. Arnaldo F. Antonio explained that the essence of staging the aforementioned contests in the city is to find out how prepared are the Valenzuelanos in responding to emergencies in case these arise. He shared in the vernacular, “Marami tayong mga ibinibigay na training sa ating mga kababayan pero [ang mga natutunan nila] ay hindi madalas nagagamit. Gusto nating malaman kung handa ba talaga ang ating mga kababayan; at para naman sa mga grupo na nakapagsanay na, gusto natin malaman kung sino ba sa kanila ang pinakahanda, upang mas mapaunlad at mahikayat ang iba kung mayroon mang nahuhuli.”
The participating government agencies and socio-civic organizations during the kick off celebration include: (a) the 33 barangay governments in Valenzuela City, (b) the Bureau of Fire and Protection, (c) the Philippine Red Cross, (d) the Philippine National Police, (e) the Philippine Army, (f) the Philippine Navy, (g) the Department of Education, (h) the Traffic Management Office, (i) the Bantay Sunog, (j) the Task Force on Fraternities and Gangs Intervention and Prevention, (k) the Knights of Columbus, and (l) the Parish of the Holy Cross.
Executive Order 137 s. 1999 declares the month of July of every year as NDCM which aims to increase the awareness of every Filipino on natural and man-made disasters for a better appreciation of the government’s disaster preparedness programs.