GENERAL SANTOS CITY (PNA) – For the fourth consecutive year, Sarangani Province will represent Region 12 in this year’s national Gawad Kalasag search.
Sarangani emerged anew as the best-prepared Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) in the region based on the results of the 2017 regional search spearheaded by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Region 12.
Rene Punzalan, head of the Sarangani Provincial DRRM Office, said Wednesday the province topped last month’s evaluation, which focused on disaster prevention and mitigation, disaster preparedness, disaster response, and disaster rehabilitation and recovery.
He credited such accomplishment to their continuing innovations and adoption of learnings from the experiences of other local government units (LGU).
“Although our programs and services are already in place, we never stopped innovating and learning,” he said.
Punzalan said among the province’s best practices was the institutionalization of the “SAR 117” emergency hotline.
He said the hotline, which operates on a 24-hour basis, is the localized version of the national government’s “Patrol 117.”
Sarangani was the first LGU in the country that localized the emergency hotline two years ago.
“The hotline covers all seven municipalities of the province and had been used in major disaster incidents as well as emergencies like road accidents,” he said.
Punzalan said the province was also the first LGU in Region 12 that adopted the Global Positioning System or GPS-based geohazard mapping.
He said the mapping was implemented in coordination with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Region 12.
South Cotabato province remained in second place in the 2017 regional Gawad Kalasag search.
Bai April Sinsuat, OCD-12 representative to the search’s evaluation team, said the province fell short in the area of disaster preparedness.
She the lack of plantilla positions in the South Cotabato PDRRMO was one of the key factors for the lower rating in the said thematic area.
But she said South Cotabato emerged strong in disaster response, and disaster prevention and mitigation, especially on environmental management initiatives.
The other winners are Koronadal City (highly urbanized city category); municipality of Tupi (first to third class municipalities category); and, Barangay Poblacion, Tupi (urban barangay category).
OCD-12 is set to submit the list of regional winners to its central office on April 10 for the national evaluation, which is set on April 24 to June 23.
The national winners will be announced on July 25 in line with the celebration of the National Disaster Consciousness Month.