Marcos wants review of disaster response SOPs

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Marcos wants review of disaster response SOPs
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr arrives for a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Malacanang Palace in Manila on August 6, 2022.
Andrew Harnik / POOL / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos has called for a review of the government’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) to create a uniform and coordinated approach for disaster response.

“I think we have to review our SOPs when there’s a warning. So, what do we immediately do when the alert is given to us? How do we preposition the things that we will need?” Marcos said during a Cabinet meeting last Friday.

He made the remark in the wake of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that rocked provinces in Northern Luzon last July 27. The tremor left at least 11 people dead and nearly P1.4 billion worth of damage to infrastructure and agriculture.

The government should preposition satellite phones, generators and water, among others, once an alert is raised, according to the President.

“As we know, the very first thing that we have to deal with is really communication, to find out what’s going on where, and then that’s when we can assess what to prioritize (for assistance),” he said in Filipino and English.

“In my experience, the first thing you have to do is communicate with the local government official,” he added.

During the meeting, the Chief Executive also discussed the use of airlift assets for disaster response.

“Our troops must be there to enter and clear (affected areas),” he said.

He also cited the importance of engineers who can help in clearing operations and building temporary structures.

Instead of pushing for the passage of a bill creating the Department of Disaster Resilience, Marcos has backed a proposal to create a body of disaster resilience under the Office of the President.

In his visit to Abra last July 28, he highlighted the need to procure more water purifying systems that will address potable water supply problems during disasters.

The President is also pushing for the legislation of the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and National Service Training Program which, he said, “aims to motivate, train, organize and mobilize students for national defense preparedness, including disaster preparedness and capacity-building for risk-related situations.”

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