Malaybalay City puts up P29.8 million risk reduction, mgt. fund

MALAYBALAY CITY – The City Government of Malaybalay has allotted a total of P29.8 million fund for the city’s disaster risk reduction and management fund, a portion of which would be used to fund training and operation of a 24-member volunteer rescue team, City Administrator Herculano Ronolo said.

About 44 percent or P13 million of the budget will go to capital outlay, according to a copy of the plan to use the fund Ronolo gave to Bukidnon News.

“Climate change has exposed the city to more risks to disasters, we have to prepare for it,” he said.

Close to half of the capital outlay budget will be used to buy additional fire trucks at P5.5 million. The city also intends to buy rescue vehicles (P3 million), ambulance (P2 million), and mini-backhoe (P2.5 million).

The other part of the P29.8 million budget will go to maintenance and other operating expenses, which compose P16.819 million of the budget.

About P9 million goes to “disaster quick response.” But the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council did not specify the details in its 2011 plan. The other half of the operating expenses, P7.873 million, is allotted for disaster-preparedness. The budget covers prevention, response, mitigation, rehabilitation, and other expenses including those for training and seminars.

Mayor Ignacio W. Zubiri announced during the City Government’s Convocation Program Monday part of the budget will be used to train the city’s volunteer rescue team to work with the city’s existing emergency response unit.

Zubiri told city government officials and employees the city’s present exposure to disaster instances is a result of the clearing of the city’s forests in search for livelihood.

He cited about 25 big and small landslides in the city’s Upper Pulangi district.

Zubiri said he asked the City Environment and Natural Resources Office to come up with a plan how farmers in the area can keep the trees and plant new trees in their upland farms.

As part of the 2011 disaster risk reduction and management fund of P29.8 million, the city government is funding the formation of the 24-member volunteer response team. It will be composed of volunteer members of Kabalitkat and Karancho civic organizations. Training of the unit will start this month on water safety and rescue, mountain rescue, structure collapse, and landslides.

Ronolo said crucial at the moment is the creation of the rescue team’s office. He said some sectors suggested that the city government will just designate an official and three-member staff from existing personnel. But he said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Law mandates a separate office with its own personnel. (Walter I. Balane)

Note: This story also appears on www.mindanews.com

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