Village leaders urged to actively help in relocating constituents

DAVAO CITY – An environmental group called on barangay leaders to actively play their role in relocating constituents from danger zones to ensure their safety and save money for relief assistance.

Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) program coordinator Chinkee Peliño-Golle said relocation was better if it came from the barangay leaders because they knew the risky places and the number of people who would be affected.

“It’s time for them (barangay) to develop a major or medium-relocation plan especially the barangay officials who have flood-prone and landslide-prone areas,” she said.

For many years, Peliño-Golle said the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) had been identifying danger zones but the said office had no knowledge of the affected people unless the barangay officials would notify them.

She said the city had prepared relocation site in Barangay Los Amigos in Tugbok district for the affected residents, but the problem was the distance to their source of livelihood.

“This is a challenge for the barangays, to identify possible areas for on-site relocation so that the people who will be affected will not be displaced from their livelihood,” she said.

“The barangays, I hope really help the City Planning and Development Office identify a place within their area for the establishment of on-site relocation for their constituents,” Peliño-Golle added.

This step will lessen the number of affected people during the rainy season that usually causes floods and landslides.

“Buhaton unta nila not just, dili lang i-consider ang pulitika noh but for the safety of their constituents (Hopefully, they will do it not just for politics but for the safety of their constituents),” she said.

She said this was a lot better than doing evacuation and extend relief assistance every time there were flood and landslides.

The suggestion is part of the mitigating measures for disaster risk reduction management of the city.

If the barangay leaders could not do the relocation plan for the meantime, Peliño-Golle said communities must be trained with disaster readiness and preparedness.

“It is important to allot budget for the community capacity empowerment because if the barangay leaders cannot solve the relocation and resettle their constituents living in landslide-prone and flood-prone, at least they will be trained what to do in times of calamity,” she said.

Peliño-Golle also stressed the importance to readily respond to the call for a pre-emptive evacuation.

It may be recalled that during the flooding last December 23, 2017, many residents in barangays along the Davao River were trapped because they did not heed the warnings of the city government.

The victims called for rescue when the water level already reached their roofs.

“These people should also follow orders from authorities for pre-emptive evacuation for their safety,” Peliño-Golle said. (Armando Fenequito Jr/PNA)