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Apsemo chief blasts head of OCD Bicol for lack of DRR preparation

By Rhaydz B. Barcia LEGAZPI CITY --- For the first time, the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (Apsemo) of the provincial government took to task the Office of Civil Defense in Bicol for its alleged failure to execute disaster risk reduction preparedness and mitigation measures here. OCD Bicol is under the helm of its first female chief Blanche Gobenciong. Cedric Daep, Apsemo chief, said the provincial government of Albay has prepared for a disaster drill in compliance with Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) as agreed upon with OCD Bicol but the newly installed director changed the venue to Masbate without prior notice to Apsemo. “OCD Bicol has no advance DRR preparation for disaster mitigation under Gobenciong,” Daep said. He said the OCD Bicol disaster drill was supposed to be conducted on June 29 in Malinao, Albay as a critical area for tsunami which matter was deliberated on twice and agreed upon by the disaster responders here. “We prepare in compliance with DRRM meeting. As a team, we have chosen Malinao town as very critical area for tsunami for the people to be ready for evacuation in case tsunami strikes. But Gobenciong changed the venue in Masbate without prior notice despite of disaster responders from all government agencies preparations,” Daep lamented. Daep said that since 1989 to 2017, this is the first time that OCD Bicol had no DRR preparation considering the advent of typhoon season in the region. Gobenciong who took the post almost 5 months ago is the first woman to head OCD Bicol, which covers the country’s most disaster-prone region. She once headed OCD Negros Island Region prior to her assignment here replacing Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro who served as chief of OCD Bicol for 10 years after being promoted as director of the Planning and Policy Development Division of the OCD-National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). The Apsemo chief in Albay also questioned Gobenciong’s imposition of P5,500 registration fee per person who will attend the Regional Convergence of Local DRRM Officers even without any agreement on such fee amount. In a letter sent by Daep, chief of Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office, to Undersecretary Ricardo B. Jalad, OCD administrator and NDRRMC executive director, Daep said that Gobenciong is asking for P5,500 registration fee per person which was not imposed by previous OCD and RDRRMC Bicol officials ever since here. Daep asked Jalad why was OCD Bicol is asking for registration fee of P5,500 per person even without prior discussion of the matter. “I am a member of the RDRRMC 5, and during our 2017 2nd quarter RDRRMC 5 full council meeting there was no such agreement. I could have helped OCD 5 Diector Gobenciong in this Regional Convergence given the fact that I am elected to the board of the National DRRM association. This is the second time under Dir. Gobenciong that the OCD 5 didn’t give due respect and courtesy to this office,” Daep told Jalad in his letter. Similarly, Daep complained against Gobenciong’s failure to take action on PDRRM paper of Albay on seal of good local governance review as requirement by the DILG regional office. Following Daep’s complaint, Jalad send a team from OCD central office to conduct a personal audit and look into the lapses of the OCD Bicol director here.

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