February 24, 2022, Itogon, Benguet– The Itogon Municipal Disaster Reduction and Management Council, headed by its Chief Executive Mayor Victorio Palangdan, conducts an Operational Simulation Exercise today to demonstrate and practice their readiness and response capacity on rain-induced landside. The lessons derived from the exercise will help improve their existing Contingency Plans and coordination protocols on the towns’ landslide hazards.
The objectives of the Municipal-wide Simulation Exercise:
The Simulation Exercise will enable the M/BLGUs to revisit and improve their existing contingency plans. Specifically, the MLGU and BLGUs will be able to test and identify areas for improvement in the following areas:
- Strengthen partnership of key stakeholders at the municipal and barangays emergency management structures in Itogon
- Enable participants to understand the importance of coordination, communication, and information management in emergency response
- Raise awareness of the roles, responsibilities, and immediate emergency response actions of all participants
- Practice and validate contingency plans and SOP’s
- Practice coordination among different agencies, the MLGU with BLGUs, CSOs, and other volunteer groups.
- To test the key disaster management agency’s capacities on first aid, rescue, and transporting casualties
- Identify key gaps and challenges in preparedness planning and response action.
“It took us two months to prepare for this operational exercise.” Engr. Cyril Batcagan, the MDDR Officer of Itogon, said. After a series of meetings to firm up the plan and simulation development, we are here today to implement what we have planned. This simulation will improve response coordination between Municipal and barangays key disaster management agencies and help us achieve zero casualties Batcagan emphasized”.
“This simulation exercise serves to rehearse our emergency response procedures, identify key gaps and challenges, improve team coordination and enhance the overall capacity of our local disaster structures and individuals to react to emergencies effectively and efficiently,” the Mayor said.
“We are setting the expectations for the simulation,” Vicente Puguon, the Barangay Captain of Brgy. Gumatdang noted, “Now we will experience a one-day emergency. The BDRRMC will practice collaborating with the MDRRC or in an emergency setting. This simulation is also extremely beneficial for all agencies and response committees present here. It will test our capacity to react and respond. It is also an opportunity for us to focus attention on important planning issues and deliver real change in the decision–making processes of this council.”
A day before the Simulation, ADRA distributed forty-five two-way radios to nine barangays (five handheld radios each barangay) of Itogon to support their early warning communications.
For the past 26 months, the EMPOWER Project, through the collaboration of Local Government Units and Civil Society organizations, strived to make Itogon Municipality resilient and better prepared for natural and man-made hazards. Through the funding support of the European Union, the partnership of local government units and ADRA Philippines will help the Municipality of Itogon better handle future disasters.
EMPOWER project is a joint initiative of Adventist Development and Relief Agency and Humanity & Inclusion through the funding support of the European Union worth € 375 000 (Php 21.7 million).