COA finds Phivolcs’ disaster information drive lacking
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has frowned at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs)’s poor implementation of its disaster information campaign that may be rendering the masses unprepared for the “Big One.”

“Phivolcs‘ practice of disseminating Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials was only upon written request by interested stakeholders, during conduct of trainings/seminars, as part of the seminar kits distributed to participants, and upon request by walk-in stakeholders, which suggests that a limited number of recipients were informed and aware about disaster preparedness and risk reduction,” the COA said in its 2017 audit report on Phivolcs.

The audit body noted that from 2016 to 2017, Phivolcs printed a total of 772,050 copies of IEC materials in the form of posters, flyers, brochures, booklets, activity books, paper models, comic books, storybooks, coloring books, assembly kits and teacher resources, which promote awareness and preparedness on earthquake, tsunami and volcanic activities. 

The information drive was under Phivolcs’ “Disaster Awareness and Preparedness, Information Materials and Tools Development and Dissemination” project tasked to be implemented by its Geologic Disaster Awareness and Preparedness Division.

The materials were to be distributed to local government units (LGUs), government agencies, schools, private organizations and individual researchers. 

The total amount spent for the printing of materials was not indicated in the report, but the COA said that as end of 2017, only 34 percent or 261,307 copies were disseminated while 66 percent or 510,743 copies were “left idle with Phivolcs.”

“The IEC materials seek to generate awareness to induce mitigation and preparedness for risk reduction. As a country frequented by various natural disasters, there is a possibility of another major disaster such as the … earthquake that could hit Metro Manila and nearby provinces due to irregular movements of west valley fault,” the COA said.

The COA found inefficient Phivolcs’ practice of providing the IEC materials only upon written or walk-in requests. “The very essence of public awareness campaigns is to provide large scale impact... Seemingly, with the above statistics the very purpose of the program has been defeated,” it said.

In a comment incorporated in the report, the Phivolcs explains that its manner of disseminating the IEC materials was aimed to ensure that they will be “read and… avoid wastage.” 

The Phivolcs further explained that it deemed fit to discuss the contents of the materials through face-to-face interaction such as seminars and workshops, in order to ensure “better understanding and appreciation of the importance of the information it depicted.”

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