Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

BCDA group prepares for perennial floods in areas traversed by SCTEx

CLARK ECONOMIC ZONE – With the onset of the rainy season and the perennial flooding it brings to some parts of Central Luzon, the government-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) reactivated its disaster preparedness group (DPG) to assist government agencies in the conduct of relief and rescue operations in areas along or adjacent to its flagship project — the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).

DPG Director Edgar Pattaui said his group will immediately deploy trained personnel to the affected areas within and around the municipalities traversed by the 93.7-kilometer SCTEx.

Pattaui said that while his men might be at the forefront of the rescue and relief operations in the floodprone areas, they would actually be merely assisting government authorities, particularly the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC), in doing their mandated task.

"Because flooding is a natural phenomenon that normally occurs in low-lying areas during the rainy season, our main concern is to undertake preventive measures meant to minimize flood damage. The faster we arrive at the affected areas, the more lives and resources we can save," Pattaui said.

He also said that aside from emergency response, the DPG would help enable communities alongside the SCTEx to be self-reliant in mitigating the negative impact of the floods on lives and property.

Among the preventive measures is the conduct of information-education campaign on the causes and possible effects of floods.

Pattaui said DPG has also installed early flood-warning devices in the flood-prone areas that would enable the villagers to move to high ground in case of floods. This included the use of bridge supports as water level yardsticks that have be monitored during typhoons and unusually heavy downpour to predict imminent floods.

The BCDA organized the DPG last year in keeping with its corporate social responsibility program targeting communities alongside the R21-billion SCTEx.

The DPG was tasked to provide support for the conduct of emergency operations in calamity-stricken areas in coordination with the local government units, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA), the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Department of Public Works and Highways, and the local offices of the National Disaster Coordinating Council.

The DPG is composed of representatives from BCDA, Task Force "Bantay SCTEP" and SCTEx contractors. (Jun Velasco - Manila Bulleting)

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