Emergency preparedness in place for Panagbenga 2018

BAGUIO CITY – An Emergency Response and Preparedness (ERP) meeting is held to ensure that safety and security measures are in place for this year’s celebration of Panagbenga Flower Festival.
On February 12, 2018, members of the Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CRDRRMC), including Baguio City DRRMC, convene at the Office of Civil Defense CAR Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to strategize security efforts for residents and tourists’ safety.
After the meeting, the Cordillera RDRRMC, with the guidance of its Chairperson Dir. Andrew Alex Uy, made consensus decision to raise its alert status to blue effective February 13 until March 4, 2018. This is to intensify monitoring and coordination with concerned offices. It also pertains to standby readiness in preparation for full-scale response operations, and resources are made available for possible deployment.
“We would like to make sure that frontline agencies for response operations are ready in cases of emergency” said Dir. Uy.
The response cluster of the Cordillera RDRRMC consists of different member agencies. Some of the clusters are namely law and order headed by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Philippine National Police (PNP); OCD for logistics and emergency telecommunications; PNP, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for Search Rescue and Retrieval clusters; and other seven (7) more clusters.
The ERP meeting included a weather forecast from Engr. Hilario Esperanza, PAGASA Baguio Chief Meteorologist, stating that the Summer Capital may experience partly cloudy with intermittent and scattered light rains due northeast monsoon or Amihan.
“We are already experiencing the peak of Amihan so most probably, the possibility for the temperature to drop further is very low” added Engr. Esperanza.
The Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) also presented its security framework particularly for Panagbenga highlights – grand street and grand float parades on February 24 and 25 respectively.
Its plan is mainly about traffic design, deployment of ambulance, fire trucks, and medical teams at strategic locations, and setting up of motorists and tourists assistance centers.
According to BCPO Director PSSUPT Ramil Saculles, the city is expecting 800,000 to 1 million tourists; he assured that while activities are ongoing, there are personnel deployed at different tourist spots in the city.
BCPO releases traffic advisory encouraging motorists to take Marcos Highway and any other alternative routes other than Kennon Road because heavy traffic is expected along this area. “We designed traffic plan differently because our city streets are incomparable to lowlands” remarked PSSUPT Saculles.
Aside from police officers and local responders, BCPO will be deploying thousands of volunteers, mostly are NSTP students and criminology interns.
The DILG-CAR likewise alerted nearby towns such as La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay for possible augmentation.
Meanwhile, the 54th Infantry Battalion of Philippine Army laid out its security plan for Philippine Military Academy’s Alumni Homecoming during the ERP meeting. According to Col Rey Balido of PMA, the academy will be temporarily closed to tourists in view of the activity but will resume once the homecoming celebration is through. Wendelle Domingcil & Maruf Abdullah, interns / ABN

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