Provincial Information Officer Atty. CJ Cojamco, PAGASA's Sonny Pajarilla PDRRMO head Jeremias Alili and Gov. Dennis Socrates discuss topics on disaster preparedness and response during the Arampangan sa Kapitolyo last Friday.

Even though super typhoon Betty is 200 kilometers away from Palawan, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) is on alert for possible effects to the province especially with the presence of southwest monsoon that brings rains to some municipalities of the province.

PDDRMO chief Jeremias Alili said they are currently preparing relief items for distribution in different municipalities.

“Dumaran town has claimed their food packs allocation for prepositioning. Last week Araceli was scheduled and more municipalities next week,” Alili said during the monthly Arampangan sa Kapitolyo last Friday, May 27

Three municipalities – Dumaran, Sofronio Española and Roxas, also issued suspension of classes in all levels last Friday in anticipation of effects of the typhoon even though no warnings were raised.

Governor Victorino Dennis M. Socrates meanwhile explained that he does not see anything wrong with the suspension of classes.

“I believe the local chief executives have the authority to issue orders like that. If there’s a mistake, as long as in good faith, I think there is no liability,” Socrates said.

Alili echoed Socrates’ statement saying it is within the authority of the mayor, adding that he also advised municipal DRRMOs to assist and guide mayors in their decisions in responding to calamities.

I don’t see any problem or liability although the basis for expenditures must be justified because they have to feed the evacuees,” he explained.

He added that Local Government Units also have the power to enforce such advisories on the basis of localized weather systems.

“For example, if there is a local weather disturbance in Taytay, Roxas cannot feel it so Taytay can issue advisories,” Alili said.

Recently, guidelines for responding to local weather disturbances where LGUs were given the freedom to conduct preemptive evacuations, suspend classes or work,” he added.

Socrates on the other hand even lauded the mayors who declared suspension of classes saying “it is better to err on the side of caution than not preparing at all which is more sorry.”

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