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Virac LGU, Red Cross extend water augmentation operation
posted 12-Jun-2019  ·  
LOOKING OUT FOR RAIN?. Two birds perch themselves on the weather instrument at PAGASA Virac on one hot day recently.

Just a few days before disaster funding ran out last week, Mayor Samuel Laynes directed the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) to resume its water and sanitation augmentation operation with the Philippine Red Cross.

The chief executive reportedly made the decision a week after the PRC Catanduanes Chapter informed that the operation began in March would be terminated due to lack of funds for the maintenance and other operational expenses.

The LGU and the humanitarian organization had collaborated on the operation after the prolonged, abnormally low rainfall since the beginning of the year resulted in the scarcity of potable water.

With costs charged to the water supply augmentation funds of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), the Philippine Red Cross deployed a trailer-type LMS water purification unit for the production of potable water from Hicming river.

Over the past seven weeks of the joint operation, water tankers of the Red Cross and MDRRMO delivered the purified water to barangays Balite, Casoocan, Calampong, Pajo San Isidro, Calabnigan, Sto. Cristo, Poniton, San Isidro Village relocation site, Sto. Domingo PROFEM, Palta Salvacion, Tubaon, Talisoy, Simamla, the Material Recovery Facility at the Virac public market and the Virac Rural Health Unit.

The delivered water were either supplied as refills for the five water bladders deployed by the Red Cross in selected villages or directly given to residents.

Pursuant to Memorandum Circular No. 2019-64 issued last May 3, 2019 by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), all local chief executives are encouraged to take precautionary measures to mitigate and prepare for the ongoing and potential adverse effects of the El Niño phenomenon over the country.

The circular urged LCEs to curb illegal water connections and encourage the prudent use of water; allow water concessionaires and water utilities to conduct emergency repair of water leaks prior to securing excavation permits; implement and update existing contingency plans related to El Niño; conduct mass information campaigns in communities on PAGASA climate advisories, water conservation measures, and others; and ensure that the dry spell shall not be used as pretext for unreasonable commercial gain through the hoarding and increasing of prices of potable water.

Secretary Eduardo Año said that all LGUs may utilize part of the 70% allocation for disaster preparedness and part of the 30% Quick Response Fund from the 5% LDRRM Fund for the purpose.

The circular also directs the Bureau of Fire Protection to refrain from unnecessarily drawing water from fire hydrants and to limit the same only for purposes of extinguishing fires. Water concessionaires and water utilities are also allowed free use of fire trucks for tankering operations in view of the significant number of households that are and will be affected and the limited availability of water tankers, the DILG chief stated.

In the PAGASA climate advisories, Catanduanes is among the provinces that will be potentially effected by drought this May 2019, with the weather condition to improve by June. Rainfall is also forecast to be above normal for the province until August 2019.

Mean temperatures are likewise predicted to be 1 to 2 degrees above normal in the island this August and October. Ten to 13 tropical cyclones will enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) in the 2nd half of the year.

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