Philippine Red Cross Valenzuela Chapter – Disaster Management Service, in coordination with the City’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and Barangay Malanday Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council organized its biggest community drill with around 1,173 participating residents of Barangay Malanday in simulated disaster scenarios, and rescue and evacuation operations.
Also with assistance from Team City Light, the drill was held Saturday morning, April 13, at nine neighborhoods in the barangay, namely, Roads I, II and III in Lingahan; Don Manolo Street, ACA Road, Fernando Street, San Andres Street, Urrutia Street and Riverside. It used PRC’s Disaster Contingency Plan as the foundation to instill readiness among constituents during calamities.
The whole drill was funded under the Partners for Resilience Project (PFR) supported by the Netherlands Red Cross. It enacted different scenarios with a systematic relay of responses from PRC,Valenzuela Disaster Management Service including the barangay-based volunteers Red Cross 143.
The whole program specifically tackled escalating levels of alerts; starting from reportage on water levels up to executing rescue and evacuation for different cases of victims, such as the elderly, pregnant and infants.
The mock evacuation center used was Andres Fernando Elementary School, utilizing 15 classrooms. The school is the same evacuation center used when Habagat struck in August 2012. Evacuees were fed and given medical check-ups, just like in real scenario.
Road 2 resident, Maria Dolores L. Francisco and her family stayed in the evacuation center for five days. This was her motivation to wake up early to participate in the drill. She brought with her four grandchildren, the youngest of which was two-years old. “Mahalagang pinaghahandaan ang pagdating ng mga kalamidad. (We must get ready for any calamity.)” she said while wearing the whistle PRC distributed.
PRC Governor and Assistant Treasurer Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian thanked everyone who participated in the drill, saying that “we can see through this drill a communal cooperation and volunteerism in Valenzuelanos. This is one step forward towards a well planned and executed the City’s disaster risk reduction and management program.”
The event is also attended by PRC Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang who expressed her admiration for the city’s excellentimplementation of programs and management of resources for disaster risk reduction.
“Ang totoong disaster ay walang warning,” she said. “Dapat na ituloy-tuloy niyo ang drill na ito hanggang sa dumating ang kalamidad.” (Real disasters strike without warning. Until then, you should continue preparing yourselves through drills like this)
Barangay Malanday PB Fortunato Aravilla thanked everyone who participated in the drill. “Ang kahandaan po natin sa mga sakuna ang magliligtas po sa atin,” he said. “Sana po, ang mga natutunan natin ngayon ay i-apply natin sa pang-araw-araw nating mga buhay.” (Our readiness will keep us safe in times of disasters. I hope we apply in our daily lives the lessons we learned today)
PRC Valenzuela Chairman Elizabeth Chongco also added that, “disaster management is not just a project of the local government. The community takes a big role as well. Everyone should do his part.”
Mayor WIN was grateful with the continuous support given by Netherlands Red Cross under PFR. “Their help boosts our city’s preparation for the quickest response possible, given that five out of the 24 barangays in the 1st district are heavily flooded during rainy season.”
Partners for Resilience Project aims to create less vulnerability to the impact of extreme weather and consequences of climate change throughout communities and to provide adaptation measures for quick recovery. The Philippines is chosen to be the recipient of the project, along with India and Indonesia, being part of the worst affected countries in the world during calamities.
Also present at the event were Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office Head, Dr. Arnaldo Antonio, Valenzuela Rescue Unit officer, Roy Calingacion, Valenzuela City Police Station Officer-in-Charge, P/SSUPT Rhoderick Armamento, neighboring Punong Barangays, City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) personnel, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) officials and the City Health Department personnel.
According to Red Cross Valenzuela Administrator, Criselda Torres, four other barangays are scheduled to conduct their own community drills in the coming months. These are the Barangays of Coloong, Tagalag, Balangkas and Wawang Pulo.