Palace Seeks Government-Wide Training in Disaster Preparedness

Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. is pushing for a government-wide demonstration-training in disaster preparedness to ensure officials and employees respond appropriately to natural disasters and emergency situations.

Ochoa underscored the importance of getting people involved in preparing for disasters during a seminar conducted in the Office of the President last week, as he noted that the 9.0 temblor that jolted Japan in March should serve as a wake-up call to earthquake-prone countries like the Philippines.

“This means that we should be even more prepared. I know that in terms of resources and technology we’re still far behind Japan, but we should take steps and prepare. We cannot ignore these anymore,” Ochoa told the Palace staff during the Demonstration-Training on Natural Disaster Preparedness and Response System held at the Mabini Hall.

“The Office of the President aims to set an example for the rest of the bureaucracy that here we are preparing. We’re not taking things for granted,” Ochoa added.

At the same time, Ochoa called for strict and full compliance with building safety standards and regulations by all government offices to preserve lives and prevent any untoward incident.

This is in line with the separate memoranda issued on March 16 by the Executive Secretary following the powerful earthquake and tsunami in Japan to the Departments of Public Works and Highways, Transportation and Communications, the Interior and Local Government directing these agencies to conduct inspections in public buildings and government infrastructure projects, as well as assess the level of preparedness in the local government units in terms of disaster management.

“The window for us within which to act and react to any calamity or any disaster, man-made or natural, is too short,” Ochoa pointed out. “So therefore, we should bear in mind to be always ready. Preparedness for any disaster or situation
must become our second nature.”

During the training, Palace officials and personnel were given lectures by experts from the Philippine Coast Guard, Balangay Voyage and Mt. Everest Expedition Teams, Rajah Sulaiman Fire Rescue Team, City Watch Bright Center, Tao Emergency Operation Center, UNTV Rescue, and Search and Rescue Unit Foundation.

He also called on the private sector to partner with the disaster-preparedness program of the government through the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). ###