“More than a planning tool, these maps are a lifesaver.”

This was stressed today by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje who on Monday reiterated anew his call for local government executives to give serious attention to the geohazard maps which the DENR has distributed to some 1,600 municipalities and cities and about 4,000 barangays nationwide.

“I implore on heads of local government units to take genuine interest in these geohazard maps we have provided them especially for those whose areas are in identified disaster-prone areas so they can take the necessary steps before, during and after calamity,” said Paje, adding that the 1:50,000-scale geohazard maps are a critical planning tool in the government’s risk reduction program.

Paje has earlier ordered the MGB last year to re-distribute the maps to LGUs following the May 2010 elections to ensure that all newly elected local officials. “The practice is we immediately furnish the local government units after completion of the maps. But after the elections in May last year, I directed the MGB to distribute the maps again to make sure that our local officials, particularly the new ones,” he said. Briefings were also conducted to local officials down to barangays.

Among other things, geo-hazard maps contain information as to the level of susceptibility of areas to flooding and landslide, including areas that could possibly be used as relocation or evacuation sites, in case of calamities.
Under Republic Act No. 10121 or the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, LGUs are tasked to evacuate residents in flood- and landslide-prone areas and relocate them to safe areas in times of impending typhoon and other weather disturbances that could bring heavy rains.

The Act requires all provinces, cities, and municipalities to have a Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (LDRRM) systems to have a greater responsibility in building the disaster preparedness of communities and institute disaster risk reduction within their jurisdictions.

“The maps are there to increase the LGU’s competence on hazards, vulnerability and risk assessment activities and enable them to establish their LDRRM system to effectively comply with RA 10121,” Paje stressed.