By Jason B. Neola
NAGA CITY --- This year’s Peñafrancia Inter-Agency Task Group that primarily oversees the Joint Operations Center (JOC) will review events in previous years to ensure that the celebration of the upcoming Peñafrancia Fiesta in September 2017 will be more peaceful and orderly.
This was underscored by City Councilor Joselito SA Del Rosario in his presentation during yesterday’s (Aug. 30) planning cum coordination meeting. The occasion was attended by different heads and representatives of private and public entities composing the task group. Also in attendance were representatives from the Catholic Church in behalf of Most. Rev. Rolando Tria Tirona, Archbishop of Caceres.
Among the concerns that were addressed were the identification of preferred access roads once a rerouting is adopted to avoid traffic congestion. The San Antonio-Tagbong Minalabac-San Fernando Road and the Magarao-San Felipe-Cararayan-Del Rosario exit road are two of the roads being eyed for consideration.
The task group is expected to be strict also in the imposition of truck ban and compliance to height requirements of banderitas being hung along the city’s major streets, especially in Central Business Districts I and II. They are to be monitored by the Public Safety Office and personnel from the Office of the City Treasurer while the inspection of electric poles, dangling wires and manholes are to be undertaken by the City Engineer’s Office, General Services Department, and linemen from Camarines Sur II Electric Cooperative (Casureco II), including security of bridges by the Department of Public Works and Highways.
The meeting’s afternoon session was a workshop that tackled matters regarding coordination and teamwork and other plans to be adopted.
The JOC of the Peñafrancia Inter-Agency Task Force is mandated to monitor all events, anticipate contingencies and eventualities and set into motion actions for the speedy resolution of problems occurring during the entirety of the festivities, conduct drills and coordinate efforts for the efficient command and control through collaboration and interaction of every stakeholder.
The composition of the Joint Operations Center becomes part of the Crisis Management Committee in times of man-made crisis or barricaded situations, and be part of the Regional/City Risk Reduction and Management Council, in cases of other emergencies or disasters.
City Mayor’s Office Project Development Officer Renne Gumba, the newly installed head of Public Safety Office, said among the concerns that should be discussed during the workshop are the approaches that will strengthen the coordination and partnership of each member agency to enable the task group to come up with expeditious and effective solutions on certain inconveniences and difficulties that may rise within the duration of the fiesta.
In an interview, Del Rosario said that “every one of us in the task group should perform or work vigilantly and proactively considering the latest trends that occur outside Naga, especially in Mindanao.”
“As a huge event that draws millions of pilgrims, devotees and guests, the holding of the Peñafrancia fiesta this year should be planned well while we wish to fill up the gaps and deficiencies of last year’s. We will try to modify, amend or even strengthen strategies that had been implemented in previous years for us to become more proactive, focused and be able to obtain the necessary situational awareness of different happenings taking place especially inside the city. Let’s be heightened but not to the point that it will draw public apprehension,” Del Rosario said.
Hereunder are some of the initial proposals that the task force had considered during the workshop:
1. Encourage schools offering journalism/mass communication courses for extensive coverage;
2. Installation of CCTV cameras in the premises of the three major churches and other vital installations;
3. Establishment of 4 Advanced Command Posts;
4. Security of bridges, and;
5. Rerouting of bancas in front of Balatas Daungan during the fluvial procession.