DAVAO CITY, Philippines — People living in this city’s danger zones who refuse to follow government’s preemptive evacuation order in times of disasters will soon be penalized.
Lawyer Luna Acosta, a first-time councilor from the first district, has filed an ordinance which seeks to establish the pre-emptive and forced evacuation system in case of disaster and other emergency situations, and to provide corresponding penalties. It was passed on first reading during the city council’s regular session Tuesday, July 12.
“To discourage them (from disobeying authorities), we will penalize those who are stubborn (to evacuate). It is for their own safety. If they don’t want to pay fines, then they must follow the law,” Acosta told davaotoday.com in vernacular.
She said a committee hearing is set this month to consult concerned agencies, village officials, and the residents of Bucana, Talomo, Jade Valley, El Rio and other communities identified as hazard-prone areas.
In the draft ordinance, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) will establish a protocol alert system to inform people when to evacuate should disasters strike like the overflowing of river channels. If residents do not follow the evacuation order, they will be penalized.
“For everyone’s safety, the city council wants the affected residents to immediately follow when the CDRRMO orders forced evacuation,” she explained, adding that people don’t need to wait for worse things to happen like the loss of lives.
Citing CDRRMO reports, Acosta said a number of residents residing in danger zones are reluctant to evacuate during disasters because either they fear leaving their belongings or they are already used to their area’s flooding situation.
Many residents only ask for rescue when it’s already late — a problem often encountered by rescuers on the search-and-retrieval operations, the councilor said.
Acosta said it’s safer and more secure to do preemptive evacuation, especially for those living near the rivers, during the Code Orange than to wait for Code Red, which is already the critical level.
“As much as possible, we should avoid search-and-rescue operations. Prevention is always better than cure,” she said.
Though it is not final yet, Acosta eyes a P5,000 penalty for the second offense following a warning on the first offense. (davaotoday.com)