By PNA and U.S. News Agency / Asian
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Sunday called for the establishment of centralized evacuation centers in times of typhoons and other calamities.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the evacuation centers should be managed by national government agencies to free up local officials so that they could focus their resources and efforts on other activities, instead only of assisting their residents affected by calamities.
“Nakita natin dito sa nakalipas na pagbaha na nangangailangan talaga tayo ng centralized evacuation centers na pamamahalaan ng mga national government agencies halimbawa ng Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) para makakilos ang mga local officials sa iba pang gawain,” Tolentino said during the agency’s weekly radio program Sunday.
The MMDA chief said that the present set-up, where evacuees were housed in numerous temporary shelters, including schools, sometimes also located in areas not far from the “danger zones,” was not tenable as it resulted in confusion, especially when it came to the delivery of relief supplies and foods.
He also said he would bring the matter to the attention of the Metro mayors when the Metro Manila Council (MMC) convenes this week.
The MMC, whose members are the 17 Metro mayors, is the policy-making body of the MMDA.
In other related development, Tolentino also urged the urged local government officials to commend all those who took part in the rescue missions as torrential rains and floods battered the metropolis.
“There is nothing else that we can give in return for the efforts they (rescuers) displayed, especially during Tuesday and Wednesday evening,” Tolentino said.
In this regard, Tolentino said that the MMDA would recognize its own workers, particularly the agency’s contractual employees who volunteered to help during the calamity. The workers will be feted on Monday.
“This is to recognize them for their heroism,” said the MMDA chief.
Tolentino likewise cited the huge contributions of the volunteers who came all the way from different regions just to help in rescue and clearing efforts in Metro Manila.
Heavy rains brought to the country by the southwest monsoon – particularly last Tuesday and Wednesday – left Metro Manila and parts of Bataan, Zambales, Pampanga, Laguna and Cavite covered in floodwater.
On Friday, the MMDA turned its sights to an extensive and simultaneous cleanup of flood-hit areas in the metropolis by mobilizing total of 500 agency personnel.
“I have deployed one team for each of the 17 local government units of Metro Manila. They will be assigned to worst-hit barangays as determined by the mayors. We have to start our cleanup this early and prevent further clogging of our drainages and waterways,” Tolentino said.