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Officials who abandon their post during disasters to face suit: DILG

The Department of Interior and Local Government warned local chief executives regarding abandoning their constituents in times of disasters.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said it is one of the issues that discussed during the Dagyaw and the pre-Sona forum held in SMX Convention Center and Davao City Recreation Center.

“The DILG is looking at many ways to avoid casualties in times of calamities and disasters,” Año said.

“We have programs that are designed to increase preparedness and resiliency.”

He said they are focusing on 47 provinces, including cities and municipalities, that are located near and around 18 major river bases. Also, there are 28 provinces located at the eastern seaboard facing the Pacific Ocean where typhoons originate.

“And lastly, the accountability of the mayors, governors, barangay captains that they should be at the forefront of the efforts in case of tragedies,” he said. “If you are not there, we’ll punish you.”

He said if the local chief executives are overseas when tragedy strikes, they should take the first flight home. If they are not around for three days after the calamity with no valid reason, “then he or she is considered absent without official leave, then I’ll file a case against you.”

“If you go out without permission, I will file a case against you,” he added.

He said one of the top issues the country needs to address is preparedness in times of disaster to manage damage and minimize casualties.

The DILG is working with LGUs to protect residents that are living on top of a fault line. Apart from evacuation, they also raised awareness so people are aware on what to do during disasters and calamities.

These are immediate actions but long-term planning is needed to incorporate disaster risk and reduction management, along with climate change adaptation, on local government policies.

The LGUs should also be aware of the assistance they can avail for disaster risk and reduction infrastructure projects. For instance, the DILG facilitated the construction of more than 300 evacuation centers and 46 water impounding projects.

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