It’s about time politicians and politicking actors underwent incident command system or ICS training.
Days ago, we saw Senator Robinhood Padilla on a humanitarian mission in a hardest-hit Maguindanao area, delivering more speech than necessary in time of sheer need by typhoon-ravaged communities among his national constituency.
The senator’s speech has been spliced and posted on some individual Facebook accounts, as if in a mode of an adverse media campaign against BARMM in post-disaster activities.
The splicing cut the portion in which he called on BARMM to get down or bring down its “huge budget,” the region’s financial resources he articulated in his video taped “call” in sheer numbers.
But mind we did that Padilla would have known better on the dos and don’ts of humanitarian mission if he had undergone ICT; or he would have known more of the convolutions of politics in relation to true humanitarian acts and in relation to Islam.
Padilla should have known better on where to check and counter-check information or facts when hungry evacuees were set to some conditional tones to tell what politicians want to hear from them and how stories needed to be retold in their interest, or twisted for visitors who could potentially retell stories to generate greater number of followers.
The actor-turned-politician would have known that the BARMM leadership under Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim had convened the Regional Disaster Risk-Reduction Management Council which has since set up an inter-agency incident command post under the command of 6ID CG Brig Gen Roy Galido – weeks before he came over.
At the very least, Padilla should have understood that efforts are collectively put up together from the top level of the Office of the President to the NDRRMC which recommends appropriate courses of action to the President – and this holds true in the descending levels of the local government units, including BARMM.
In all, Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo, head of the BARMM READi (Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidents), says 226,373 families which translate to 534,725 individuals have been affected in 894 barangays across the region.
BARMM’s humanitarian workers are trained in ICS courses for emergency disaster situation, including WASAR (water search and rescue) operations: the region has invested much of its resources (human, time, efforts and funds) on effective emergency disaster response, including procurement of monitoring and rescue equipment.
Officials of the he BARMM’s RDRRMC and the council’s operating human resources had barely slept in more than a week of continuous works in 24/7 operations.
Understandably, Senator Padilla had become emotional on sight of a local settlement buried under tons of landslide, and of survivors – among them women and children that he thought all help, aid and relief, was best expressed solely in terms of foods for the displaced families.
And that it was their turn that day to bring in foods when he delivered his political speech at the same time albeit at the wrong place.
By October 30, onwards the BARMM READi has covered all of the affected municipalities, setting now sight on an Early Recovery Plan under which priorities include rehabilitation of damaged houses or the support for reconstruction of houses totally destroyed in hardest-hit areas.
The region’s economy has suffered a setback of 48,962,000 losses in agriculture (273,378,745) and in infrastructure (P 359 M).
In clusters of 1,495 evacuation sites only 7,383 individuals have not returned to their places of origin.
The BARMM’s Ministry of Health had placed the number of fatalities or deaths at 62; the injured at 38; and missing, 13.
Sinarimbo, concurrent spokesman and BARMM interior and local government minister, shares a glimpse of the interagency BARMM recovery plan, saying it has a total allocation of P 1.18 B from various agency-ministries which have an aggregate of quick response funds amounting to 933,913,627 from their respective regular budgets.
For its road to recovery, BARMM earmarks 4.435M for environmental protection through a Greening Program; P 202,723,912 for livelihood recovery, seen to generate CEEP (Community Emergency Employment Program); P 9,994,000.00 for restoration of roads, bridges, communications facilities, energy support systems.
The Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD), currently on a series of outreach activities and psychosocial intervention or stress debriefing sessions, will build temporary evacuation centers for the region to be better prepared in future occurrences of emergency situations and to spare school grounds from being the safe refuge during natural disasters.
Interagency recovery efforts were gearing towards school outreach activities and delivery of replacement of shelter assistance packages, among other programs, projects and activities.
The MSSD, MPW (Ministry of Public Works), MIPA (Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs), MENRE (Ministry of the Environment, Natural Resources and Energy), MILG (Ministry of the Interior and Local Governments), BPDA (Bangsamoro Planning and Development Agency) and the MHSD (Ministry of Human Settlement and Development) have pooled their resources together to put up a total of P 1,386,382,500.00 to implement the region’s early recovery plan, says Sinarimbo.
(NB Maulana writes a column for The Mindanao Cross, the oldest weekly newspaper in South-Central Mindanao. As a journalist, Maulana had previously covered the Muslim beat in Metro Manila for another daily, and had been to diplomatic coverage in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj Pilgrimage in February 1999, and for the Department of State’s Foreign Press Center to the US East Coast in autumn of 2011.)