Declaration of Cordillera under state of calamity welcomed

BAGUIO CITY  – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan welcomed the recent decision of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to declare four regions in Northern Luzon, including the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), under state of calamity after the Typhoon Ompong left hundreds of fatalities and billions worth of damages to infrastructure, agriculture and private properties.

The local chief executive was earlier hesitant in declaring Baguio City under state of calamity because the situation in the city will not pass the 5-point criteria handed down by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in declaring localities under state of calamity.

He explained that with the declaration of CAR, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley Region and Central Luzon under state of calamity pursuant to Proclamation No. 593, local governments within the said regions utilize their own local disaster risk reduction and management funds for the initial relief, recovery and rehabilitation projects that will be identified aside from being able to provide the needed calamity assistance to the victims and for financial institutions to provide calamity loans for the affected workers both in the private and public sectors.

Among the guidelines in the declaring an area under state of calamity by the concerned local chief executive include the fact that 20 percent of the population have been affected by the calamity, 40 percent of the sources of livelihood of the population have been affected, 40 percent of private and public structures have been damaged, there is significant power outage and major roads leading to the said locality had been cut off.

Earlier, the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Kalinga and Mountain Province were declared by their provincial boards under state of calamity because of the damages inflicted by Typhoon Ompong.

Under the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, local governments are mandated to allocate at least 5 percent of their annual budgets specifically for disaster risk reduction and management in their areas of jurisdiction wherein 70 percent will be allocated for prevention and mitigation projects while 30 percent will be utilized for quick response initiatives.

Of the 114 fatalities recorded in the different parts of the region, Baguio City accounted for 13 fatalities while 2 individuals have been reported missing after the weather disturbance in Northern Luzon.

Further, some 5,440 individuals from 1,221 families in the different barangays of the city were also affected by the inclement weather that struck the city and brought over 970 milliliters rainfall within a 12-hour period that was much higher compared to the expected 568 milliliters of rainfall for the whole month of September.

The City Engineering office and the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) are still validating the extent of damages inflicted by the weather disturbance to private and public properties in the different barangays before they can come out with realistic estimates of the damages on private and public properties citywide.

By Dexter A. See

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