BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance institutionalizing the use of the incident command system (ICS) as an on scene disaster response and management mechanism in the city.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated that the measure aims to have zero casualties and mitigate the effects during and in the aftermath of man-made and natural disasters and the corresponding adoption and implementation of necessary emergency measures in the city.
The ordinance stipulated that the local government shall adopt the implementing guidelines on the use of the ICS as on scene disaster response and management mechanism under the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management System.
Under the proposed ordinance, the Baguio city ICS shall be composed of incident commander, public information officer, liaison officer, safety officer, air operation branch, divisions, groups, strike team, task force and single resource, resources unit, demobilization unit, situation unit and documentation unit, service branch, support branch, common period unit, supply unit, medical unit, facilities unit, food unit, ground support unit, time unit, compensation claims unit, procurement unit and cost unit.
Yangot pointed out natural and human-induced disasters are becoming more frequent and climate change has further added to the unpredictability of the said incidents that the country has experienced for the past years and indeed, the Philippines is one of those countries which is vulnerable to natural or human-induced incidents such as typhoons, earthquakes, terrorist attacks and other incidents that require an emergency response to protect life or property.
Studies show that response problems often related to communication and management deficiencies rather than lack of resources or failure of tactics, thus, weaknesses in incident management were often due to lack of accountability, poor communication, lack of orderly and systematic planning process, freelancing by individuals and lack of knowledge with common terminology during an incident.
The ordinance explained the ICS is a fundamental form of management with the purpose of enabling incident managers to identify key concerns associated with the incident, often under urgent conditions, without sacrificing attention to any component of the command system.
Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local government code provides that Provincial governors, Municipal and City Mayors and Punong Barangays are all mandated to carry out emergency measures as may be necessary in a disaster of such severity and magnitude.
Further, it is the policy of the State to uphold the peoples constitutional right to life and property by addressing the primary cost of vulnerabilities to disasters, strengthening the country’s institutional capacity for disaster risk reduction and management and building the resilience of communities to disaster including climate change impacts.
The State is also mandated by law to recognize and strengthen the capacities of local governments and communities in diminishing and preparing for and responding to and recovering from the impact of disasters.
By Dexter A. See