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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, February 2, 2018
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Negros has P.5B to
battle disasters

Negros Occidental has close to P.5 billion in disaster response funds, with P160 million from its 2018 budget and savings of P325 million from the past five years.

This was disclosed yesterday by Ma. LinaSanogal, provincial planning and development coordinator, who said the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) has prioritized preparedness and quick response measures versus flooding and a possible eruption of Kanlaon Volcano in the 2018 budget.

The PDRRMC met Thursday to set priorities for the P160 million, of which P112 million is set for disaster mitigation measures and P48 million for quick response, she said.

Sanogal said that, while there is no immediate threat of Kanlaonerupting,they agreed that evacuation sites should be in place for any eventuality.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has placed Kanlaon under Alert Level 2 status, which means that the volcano is undergoing a moderate level of unrest. There is probable intrusion of magma at depth which may or may not lead to a magmatic eruption, Phivolcs said in its advisory yesterday.

Local government units and the public are still strictly reminded that entry into the 4-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) is strictly prohibited due to the further possibilities of sudden and hazardous steam-driven or phreatic eruptions, Phivolcs added.

PDRRMC agreed on the need to build an evacuation center on provincial government property in Talisay City, while the Department of Social Welfare and Development is offering the provincial government P20 million for another evacuation center, which could be in built in Bago City, Sanogal said.

She also said the evacuation centers can be used for activities of senior citizens and persons with disabilities, and for day carecenters when no evacuations occur to maximize the use of the facilities.

The evacuation centers were proposed for Talisayand Bago because their neighboring municipalities have in the past year suffered from flooding, and Bago is nearer to Kanlaon Volcano should it erupt, she added.

The Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City has also been identified as an evacuation center in case of a Kanlaon eruption, she said.

Part of the disaster fund will also be used for the setting up of the Task Force Buglas offices, she said.

Task Force Buglas is a multi-agency body, that includes members of various security forces that is tasked to ensure a coordinated quick response to disasters, and to act on terrorism threats.

She said the P325 million disaster fund savings of the provincial government from 2013 to 2017 can be used for disaster-related programs and projects.

However, after five years it will revert to the General Fund and can be used on non-disaster related responses,including possible terrorism, Sanogal added.*CPG



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