Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Gov't to procure 40 more rubberboats

MANILA, Philippines--In preparation for similar massive flooding, the government will be purchasing 40 additional rubberboats to expedite its rescue operations, a spokesman said today (Oct. 7).

Lt. Col. Ernesto Torres Jr., newly designated spokesman of the National Disaster Coordinating Council, said they are set to procure the additional vessels to augment their rescue equipment by authorities during high floods.

Torres said rescue efforts to many trapped on top of their houses in Metro Manila and nearby provinces due to high flood water had been slowed down by the lack of rubberboats to go around during the operations.

He admitted that the NDCC, being only an ad hoc body, has still some operational limitations. "The NDCC only convenes during disaters or calamities. It does not continuously coordinate with member agencies," Torres said.

Among the NDCC members are the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Education, Department of Health, and the Philippine National Police.

Torres said they are hoping that the recent flooding brought by tropical storm Ondoy would facilitate the passage of the Disaster Risk Management Act now pending Congress. The proposed measure seeks the creation of a body with more "teeth" to address disaster preparedness and mitigation.

Aside from the operational limitations, NDCC has only P90 million annual budget, P70 million of which goes to personnel services or salaries of its employees.

Torres also appealed to those families still not reached by the government's relief operations to be more patient as the teams, both the government and private sectors, are doing their best to bring aid to them.

"There is enough (relief goods) for everyone but please don't mob our people," he said.

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