(June 21, 2012) LGU-Tacurong is one of the regional contenders for the Best Local Disaster Risk Reduction Council (LDRRMC) in Gawad KALASAG 2012-Component City Category.
Tacurong City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) and the Tacurong City Responsive Assistance and Coordinated Emergency Search and Rescue (TRACER) were evaluated and validated by the regional selection and evaluation committee on June 20, 2012. TRACER received separate nomination for the Government Emergency Response Management-Basic Search and Rescue Category.
Gawad KALASAG for Excellence in Disaster Risk Reduction and Humanitarian Assistance is given yearly to individuals, local government units, and non-government agencies. KALASAG stands for KAlamidad at sakuna LAbanan, SAriling Galing ang Kaligtasan.
According to CDRRMC Focal Person Mrs. Eufemia Robles, Tacurong has preventive tactics and activities for both natural and man-made calamities. “But we are also equipped to respond promptly if these things will happen,” she added. Tacurong’s major hazards are flood, lightning/tornado, and fire. Least likely, but also included, are bomb and grenade explosions.
LGU-Tacurong involves everyone in disaster prevention and mitigation. “We focus on capability building of our rescue team and of other sectors such as business, academe, and NGOs,” confirms Councilor Rodrigo Jamorabon.
Various trainings have been conducted in disaster-prone barangays to educate leaders and residents; schools have undergone drills and orientations; government and private organizations are briefed of their roles; early warning signals are available; and TRACER is equipped with necessary skills and facilities.
The City Government boasts of the multi-skilled TRACER team. “TRACER volunteers can conduct search and rescue and can also identify bombs. They serve as crowd control personnel during attacks. They are trained army auxiliaries,” said TRACER Asst. Team Leader Amante Alcaide.
Activities for climate change adaptation and environmental protection, such as Limpyo Kalog, are regularly conducted. “Limpyo Kalog is done quarterly by students and residents to clean canals. This facilitates good drainage to prevent floods,” said Councilor Psyche Sucaldito. Proper solid waste management is also enforced in the city.
To maintain peace and order, Tacurong taps civilian volunteers. “The army and 1600 civilian volunteers are well coordinated and dependable. They are in strategic locations 24/7,” said Colonel Dece Yabo, TF Talakudong Commander.
Evaluators lauded Tacurong for its efforts. “You have already developed a strong sense of social responsibility. I can see how everyone works together,” said Olivia Sudaria, Regional Director of the Philippine Information Agency XII. Other evaluators include Assistant Regional Director James Cabrido of the Office of Civil Defence XII, DSWD Social Welfare Officer Edmund Corder, and James Cabrido of Philippine Red Cross General Santos.
Mayor Lina O. Montilla expects that the evaluation will help Tacurong determine its extent of readiness. “We must continue our vigilance for Tacurong’s security and safety. We are willing to learn more ways to improve our strategies,” she added.
Gawad Kalasag 2012 regional results will be announced by end of June. Regional awardees will then be nominated to the national level.
In 2005, Tacurong was awarded 1st runner up for the Best City Disaster Coordinating Council (Component City Category)-National Level. In 2006, it bagged the 2nd runner up for the same category. (Jezereel Louise C. Billano)