PH gov’t ready to respond quickly to major disasters, assures OCD exec

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said the Philippine government is ready to respond in three days in case of a major disaster and suggested Filipinos should make sure they have enough supplies to last them for that duration.

Susana Juangco, director of Capacity-Building and Training Service at OCD, reacting to a panel discussion at a recent conference on disaster resilience about being YOYO (“you’re on your own”) during calamities, said that at a meeting with the national resilience team, “both the private organizations and the government institution mentioned that should the West Valley Fault [move], the YOYO [for Filipinos]¡­ for the¡­ Philippine government to respond is three days.”

Juangco said those who are in the critical facilities section of the resilience team “mentioned that the government, and also the private institutions, can provide support through the government in a matter of three days. That’s why the information now being given today to the public is that each of the family should have their go bag or emergency kit bag which should last for three days….”

Earlier at the same disaster resilience conference organized by the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, one of the panelists suggested adopting the mindset of “YOYO 7,” which means thinking that “you’re on your own” for likely seven days “if you are on ground zero” before expecting help to arrive. He added that with this mindset, if assistance comes earlier than that, it is good, but if it does not come sooner, “you are still okay.”

The panelist, Marciano Paynor, Jr., head of Ayala Corporation’s Corporate Support Services, also urged creating a culture of preparedness in the Philippines, similar to what Japan, another country often hit by disasters, has developed, and not taking disasters for granted just because we Filipinos have become used to them.

He likewise suggested that companies teach their staff this culture of preparedness, which calls for actions such as keeping go bags-in the car and at home-to last seven days in anticipation of the devastation that a major catastrophe could bring. Aside from go bags, a communication plan for families in case of separation from one another is also crucial.

The more people and families in the country that have a mindset of preparedness, the fewer civilians the government has to worry about during serious emergencies, he said.

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