Former Finance Secretary Gary Teves is encouraging local government units to observe necessary precautions to prevent disasters, especially with the onset of the rainy season and the continued tremors felt in the island.
Teves said “let us be more proactive in preparing our communities to minimize the potential damage that natural calamities could still cause.”
The call was made as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology reported a magnitude 3.4 earthquake that hit Dumaguete City at 11:20 p.m. on July 8, followed by magnitude 3.1 quakes in Guihulngan City at 12:56 a.m., and in Canlaon City at 8:55 a.m., both on July 9.
Teves, former chair of the Special National Public Reconstruction Commission created in the aftermath of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in 2009, said in a press release that the recent quakes “remind us that on top of rehabilitation and construction efforts in the first district, the government also needs to put in measures that would reduce potential damages, should another strong earthquake occur in Negros Oriental.”
This is even if Phivolcs said the recent tremors were not as strong as the magnitude 6.9 earthquake that hit on February 6, Teves said.
He added that Okoy River is again at risk of overflowing its banks due to the frequent rains.
He said that more than the rechanneling and dredging of the rivers, local authorities should consider moving people away from the riverbanks.
“It seems that the more sensible and economical view is to work with the river, rather than against it. Reduction of flood damage no longer depends on dikes and other means of flood control because of the unpredictable force and amount of water that the rainy season could bring,” he said in the press release.*RG
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