'Convergence' cited in Dinagat province's ‘Auring’ response

Philippine News Agency
February 22, 2021

SUCCESSFUL RESPONSE. Dinagat Islands Gov. Arlene 'Kaka' Bag-ao (standing, right) supervises the operations of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office at the height of the Tropical Storm Auring on Sunday (Feb. 21, 2021). No casualty or major infrastructure damage have been reported in the province in the wake of the typhoon. (Photo courtesy of Dinagat Islands Information Office)

BUTUAN CITY – The convergence of government agencies and the local government units (LGUs) have been cited in the successful response of the Province of Dinagat Islands to the risks posed by Tropical Storm Auring (TS Auring).

In a statement on Monday, the Dinagat Islands provincial government said no casualty nor major structural damage were reported in the province's seven municipalities.

It said early preparations, close coordination among government offices and stakeholders, and the "active participation" of residents contributed to the minimal damage from the onslaught of TS Auring.

“As early as Thursday last week, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) headed by Governor Kaka Bag-ao already activated the island province's safety protocols to brace for the impact of TS Auring,” the provincial government said.

"We thank our citizens, our DRRM, health, safety, and information personnel across all levels of government, from the province to the barangay, including those in national line agencies for being part of our harmonized response -- in our early preparations, close monitoring and coordination with communities, pre-emptive evacuation and relief initiatives, and all other actions that contributed to our collective efforts," Gov. Arlene "Kaka" Bag-ao was quoted as saying.

Based on initial reports, the provincial government said "Auring" dealt damage worth PHP600,000 on the area's fishery sector.

As of 11 a.m. Monday, the Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal No. 1 in the province was already lifted.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in the area also lifted the suspension of trips for all types of sea vessels and watercraft in the area on Monday.

"This may have been the first calamity we faced in a long while, but our DRRM networks and systems have shown how formidable they are in facing Auring,” Bag-ao said.

She said the provincial government also introduced innovations in its response efforts, including the regular mapping of evacuations in flood, landslide, and storm surge-prone communities.

"In the end, to ensure that disasters will not lead to the loss of lives or property, everyone must work together -- citizens and government -- in ensuring people-centric, rights-based, and evidence-informed approaches. In the midst of Auring, we did all these with our Covid-19 protocols still in place. That is our strength in Dinagat Islands, which is why we can face any storm or even a pandemic while continuing to stand with dignity," Bag-ao said. (PNA)

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