Cebu News

Public hearing on disaster resilience measure sought

Mary Ruth R. Malinao - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City Council’s Committee on Laws, Ordinances, and Styling has recommended the conduct of a public hearing on the proposed ordinance entitled “Resiliency and Efficiency Amidst Disaster and Emergency Ordinance or READE Ordinance.”

Councilor James Anthony Cuenco authored the proposed measure mandating all fuel stations, drinking water refilling stations, supermarkets and/or groceries, pharmacies, telecommunication towers and installations, and commercial banks operating in the city’s jurisdiction to equip their establishments and facilities with a standby power supply and to maintain at least 50 percent fuel, water, food, medicine, and cash supply on a weekly basis by requiring a READE Compliance Certificate and establishing the READE Awards Committee, and appropriating funds therefor.

“The proposed ordinance is laudable since it intends to keep the city as disaster-resilient by requiring vital sectors to store ample back-up power, fuel, water, food, medicine and cash supply. However, considering the intricate nature of the business of certain sectors such as the fuel station, pharmacy, telecommunication industry and bank, we deem it prudent to conduct public hearing and consultation be made wherein representatives of all sectors affected and stakeholders be invited to solicit their view on this proposed ordinance,” read the committee report.

The City Secretary scheduled its public hearing on October 19, 2022.

The committee, led by Councilor Rey Gealon, deems it appropriate for the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CCDRRMO) to handle the matter in determining whether or not the business establishment is compliant since by the nature of said office, it is in a better position to determine compliance with the provisions of the proposed ordinance.

Section 6 of the proposed ordinance grants authority to the Office of the Building Official (OBO) to issue a READE Compliance Certificate to businesses who will be compliant.

“Section 7 of the proposed ordinance grants duties and responsibilities to OBO which includes inspection of building and/or premises to determine and verify compliance. Section 8 of the proposed ordinance provides for guidelines for the inspection to be conducted by CCDRRMO. To avoid confusion in the conduct of inspections, we suggest for the proponent to revisit these provisions of the proposed ordinance and simplify the same,” the committee stated.

Lastly, the committee said that the inspections in respect to fuel stations and banks are complex and may possibly violate some laws, rules or regulations.

“Hence, the matter should be thoroughly studied on how it can be made possible through the proposed ordinance. We are well aware that there are laws that regulates storage and distribution of fuels as well as regulations issued by Central Bank on storage of cash money in banks,” it further stated.

Section 3 of the proposed measure provides that in the aftermath of the greatly disastrous "Typhoon Odette", this trade regulation is purposely aimed in establishing a disaster-resilient and service-efficient business sector through requiring applicable commercial, petroleum, medicinal and pharmaceutical, telecommunication and banking establishments with a reliable and consistent standby power supply that can be utilized in times of disaster and emergency.

It aims to ensure that Cebu City and its constituents will have unhampered and serviceable sources of commodities even in times of distress. — JMD (FREEMAN)

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