Central Visayas Disaster Council holds simultaneous exercise

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

AS MORE tropical cyclones are expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility this year, members of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) in Central Visayas, in coordination with the Central Command (CentCom), conducted a Joint Simulation Exercise (Simex) on July 14-16 at CentCom Headquarters, Camp Lapu-Lapu in Cebu City.

The three-day activity, spearheaded by RDRRMC Chairperson Olivia M. Luces, was aimed to come up with a mechanism on the inter-operability of civilian and military especially in response operations. The tangible output of the exercise was the crafting of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for RDRRMC on disaster response.

Luces, who is also the regional officer of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), said that during the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda, a lot of lapses were observed in the response operations from the clarity of each agency’s roles and responsibilities, leadership, communication, sharing of information and resources, among others.

Central Visayas Disaster Council holds simultaneous exercise

She said that in crafting the SOP, these concerns should be prioritized to have a comprehensive and operational interagency response protocol.

For his part, Lieutenant General John F. Bonafos, CentCom commander, said there is a need to develop and achieve vital enhancement to make Humanitarian Assistance in Disaster Response (HADR) plan more responsive taking consideration the lessons learned from the series of disasters that hit the region in 2013.

He added that an interagency collaboration and coordination is very important during emergencies.

Meanwhile, Civil Defense Deputy Administrator Romeo Fajardo, who graced during the second day of the activity, commended the region for initiating such activity, saying lives of people and the economy of the nation are at stake.

Central Visayas Disaster Council holds simultaneous exercise

SOP is essential in disaster response as it will serve as direction and guidance on what, when, where, who and how to do during emergencies.

The Simex, where the participants were enhanced with knowledge, given scenarios and given opportunity to raise issues and concerns, was just an initial step to the crafting of the SOP.

Among the agencies, which were represented in the Simex, were OCD, DILG, Neda, DSWD, PNP, PCG, BFP, NTC, PIA, PRC, DOT, DOE, NSO, PhilHealth, GSIS, Pag-ibig Fund, DepEd, DENR, DOH, DPWH, MCIAA, Phivolcs, BFAR, ERUF, CSC, LTO, CPA, NBI, CCCI, Cebu Provincial Government, Cebu City Government, among others. Also present were AFP personnel coming from the three regions in the Visayas. (OCD-7)

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