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Center for Safety and Resiliency: Naga’s next-generation emergency opns facility

By Ana-liza Macatangay

CLIMATE change has disrupted the natural sequence of the country’s wet and dry seasons, and has transformed and altered the usual pattern of typhoons, earthquakes, and flooding into a more extensive scale.

Naga City Mayor Nelson S. Legacion is advocating the implementation of a technologically advanced, interactive monitoring and emergency operation center that is capable of responding to a wide range of emergencies.

Legacion shared his vision of building a Center for Safety and Resiliency (CESAR) which is awaiting completion on the New Balatas Development Site in Naga City.

The edifice will serve as a real-time surveillance and crisis response hub equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to bolster traffic management, provide immediate response to accidents, and foster collaborative and synchronized preparations for emergencies, calamities, and major events such as the Peñafrancia festivity.

City Government Department Head and Public Safety Office (PSO) Executive Director Renne Gumba said that Naga was chosen by the National Resilience Council (NRC) as one of the eight (8) LGUs in the country to be part of the program that will “cascade consciousness and awareness of resilience in governance.”

Naga City Mayor Nelson Legacion said that the Center for Safety and Resiliency (CESAR), situated within the Balatas New Development Area will feature with state-of-the-art equipment to ensure public safety and facilitate interactive monitoring. (Photo: Mayor Son Legacion FB)

“Nagpoon po ini nagkakapirang taon na sa syudad kan Naga bilang saro sa mga pilot sites sa enterong Pilipinas [ It started a few years back when Naga City was chosen as one of the pilot sites in the country. So from the National Resilience Council naki pag coordinate sa Naga City Resilience Council (NCRC), the LGU came up with a partnership between the private and the government sector to strengthen response to both natural and man-made hazards,” Gumba said.

Gumba added that the NCRC’s goal is to come up with effective strategies for addressing different hazards, prevent casualties, minimize damage to properties, and reduce disruptions in various businesses. He said that this is the level of resilience that Naga City is working on.

Center for Safety and Resiliency (CESAR) approved blueprint. (Photo credits: Naga City Government FB Page/Mayor Nelson Legacion

In July 2022, Legacion signed Executive Order No. 2022-020 creating the NCRC, which will serve as a facility that will fulfill the vision of a self-reliant and robust city. The council is in charge of reducing the impact of disaster through planning, risk assessment, training of responders, and capacitating its residents.

The NCRC is headed by Legacion as chairman and Renne Gumba, chief of the Public Safety Office, as co-chairperson.

Through the creation of the NCRC, the LGU has partnered with public and private sectors that will collectively collate insights and plan to create a blueprint of a resilient Naga.

It was then that the Center for Safety and Resiliency (CESAR) came into being.

On his Facebook page, Legacion said “This will be the next-generation interactive monitoring and emergency operations center that is intended to provide a solution to the current concerns about the city’s technological requirements. It would also play a part in responding to the need for better management of traffic, efficient response time to incidents, and collaborative and synchronized preparation and action during calamities and major events like the Penafrancia Festival.”

Gumba stated that CESAR stands as a testimony to Naga City’s commitment to building a dynamic surveillance and crisis management facility.

The PSO chief added that CESAR’s scope extends beyond the Command Center, which hosts the interagency task group, to also serve as a joint operations center. Its role is not only limited to the Peñafrancia festivity and other major events in Naga City; it will function as a continual operation hub, primed to address hazards and emergencies.

To ensure an integrated and seamless response, other government agencies like the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), PSO, and the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) put up their offices in the CESAR compound.

“So it went beyond a command center notion or a single building. It became a complex that will bring together all the responders; and all service providers. That’s the context why we have created the Center for Safety and Resilience. May emphasis lang po tayo sa teknolohiya. This center is envisioned to feature state-of-the-art technology in terms of security, safety, and other related operations,” the PSO chief stated.

Gumba relayed that the physical construction of CESAR is currently underway.

“If I am not mistaken, the construction of the main building according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has reached approximately 10 percent completion. The actual completion of the entire building will be November of 2025,” Gumba added.

The city has secured a budget of P400 million for site development and building construction. It initially obtained P145 million from the General Appropriations Act of the national government.

Additionally, SM City Naga has also pledged P40 million for the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment to enhance the center’s technological competence. (PIA 5/ Camarines Sur)


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