Press Release
January 3, 2012


Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III announced he will spearhead the holding of a Mindanao-wide summit aimed at ensuring the region's preparedness against the destruction brought by calamities.

Pimentel issued the call following the massive devastation caused by the recent typhoon Sendong in Mindanao particularly in Cagayan de Oro City Iligan Cities.

Pimentel stressed the need to organize a Mindanao summit to find out the region's vulnerabilities to natural and man-made calamities and come up with concrete steps to strengthen Mindanao's preparedness for calamities using its topography, know how, and the resiliency of its people.

He stressed that the people of Mindanao need to know the geo hazard areas in the island so they will not be placed in harms way.

Pimentel said the Mindanao summit seeks to provide answers to the following questions:

Which cities and municipalities are catch-basins? Of which bodies of water? Where are the watersheds in the island? Where are the remaining forests? Who have made money from logging and mining in the island of Mindanao?

How many dams are in the island? For what purposes? What are the physical conditions of these dams?

What other man-made structures are there in Mindanao which are potential causes of destruction and deaths? Where are the mining and logging activities in the area?

Where can evacuation centers as well as warehouses for relief supplies be optimally placed? Which LGUs have early warning systems and disaster mitigation plans already in place?

Pimentel said the Mindanao summit intends to identify funding sources both domestic and international which can be accessed for disaster preparedness and mitigation.

"There is an urgent need to organize a meeting involving the government and private sectors in Mindanao to come up with a unified and well-coordinated disaster-preparedness plan to prevent further loss of lives and destruction of property," Pimentel stressed.

"We have witnessed the need for more preparedness among different agencies to respond to natural calamities at the onslaught of typhoon Sendong resulting in more than a thousand lives lost and many still missing," he added.

If there is a well-organized relief response system in place against calamities in Mindanao, many lives will be saved, the senator from Mindanao said.

"In my personal assessment of the typhoon Sendong experience, there was a lack of coordination between the local government and national government agencies even in the aspect of information-dissemination which would have enabled residents to prepare for the coming typhoon," Pimentel noted.

Up to the gathering of cadavers and their identification, there was virtually no system as bodies were seen paraded in a dumpsite, Pimentel said.

The summit will tap all concerned agencies of government and even non-government entities and private relief organizations in Mindanao who are expected to draw a unified and quick response system that would be followed in the event of any natural and man-made calamity, Pimentel added.

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