RubyMeetingThe havoc wreaked by TD Queenie over Dalaguete taught the Municipal Government to raise the standards of gearing up in facing calamities as Typhoon Ruby threatened to hit the country. Preparations were started in as early as a day before its forecasted date of entering the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) set at 8:00 AM last December 4, 2014 Thursday based on PAGASA’s citation of their forecast models.

An emergency meeting in anticipation of TY Ruby called in by the Cebu Provincial Government last December 3, 2014 was attended by DDRRM Officer Junry Tenefrancia and Municipal Administrator Rydal Cisneros. Forecast of the current weather status was discussed as well as the prepositioning of equipment and goods. The availability and the requirements on how to avail rice supply (NFA) was also talked about.

Classes in all levels in public and private schools under Province’s jurisdiction were suspended on December 5 and 6, 2014 as Capitol aimed for zero-casualty.

On the day the 600 km-diameter Typhoon Ruby was set to make a landfall in Guian, Samar, December 6, 2014, DDRRMC convened to revisit the measures already taken in preparation of the coming typhoon should it hit Dalaguete. Evacuation Centers to house those living in risky areas were already identified. Evacuees coming from Cambangyao, Solong-on, Labangon, Ilaya, and Slaughter House Area were to occupy nineteen rooms in the Dalaguete National High School while those from Guiwanon and Kalubihan were to occupy rooms 6 rooms in the Dalaguete Central Elementary School. In Mantalongon, the Dalaguete Agri-Pinoy Trading Center and Basketball Court were readied to accommodate evacuees should the need arise.

As of 3:51 PM of that day, a total of seventy six families were pre-emptively evacuated. A stable and reliable communication with Mantalongon and Municipal Hall was also established to be able to monitor status of the upland barangays. Eight hundred sixty food packs consisting of 3 kilos rice, 2 cans of sardines, 4 packs of noodles were already packed by personnel and volunteers. Dalaguete Police Chief Berondo already designated police officers and fire marshalls to respond in cases of emergencies in mountain and coastal barangays. Dr. Edgar Alonso, Municipal Health Office Head, already delegated 24/7 medical assistance in Mantalongon Rural Health Unit and Dalaguete Rural Health Unit.

Hon. Kevin Belandres, head of the response team, put all municipal vehicles on standby with life preservers (salbabida) and assigned drivers with buddies who will be on watch in the evening of that day at the Municipal Hall (Command Center). Engr. Donald Abraham Lara coordinated with the Department of Public Works and Highways to have their vehicles prepositioned should emergency clearings be done if there were affected areas. Personnel for post disaster assessment, information collection and clearing were already designated as well.

On the night of December 6, 2014, dedicated personnel kept an overnight watch on the status of the weather and were ready to be dispatched if deemed necessary. These are the people who stood by at the Command Center.

Typhoons even tropical depressions of nowadays cannot be underestimated anymore. The advancement of technology in weather forecasting is definitely a great help in evaluating our measures in being prepared no matter how far our location is from the deemed place to be hit. Surely, Queenie taught us to better be prepared and take the precautionary measures implemented by our Local Government Unit as their primary concern is the safety of the greater public.

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