DRRM Community Kwentuhan

For our National Service Training Program course, we were asked to conduct a [kwentuhan] with a barangay official to know more about the plans of the community when it comes to dealing with potential disasters. This is a unique opportunity to get to know more about my community which is Barangay 471 in Sampaloc, Manila and I know that this activity will help me whenever there’s a chance of any disaster coming our way. Barangay 471 consists of Navarra, Juaning, Santander, Antonio, Asturias, Rosarito and portions of Dapitan and Laon-Laan street. 

Google Satellite Image of Barangay 471

Antonio is the most dangerous area of the barangay because most of the houses located on the narrow street are made up of wood and are old already, making it prone to fire. Most of the houses in the barangay are not separated side by side, making it dangerous as well while Navarra street is the safest and widest street that is situated in the barangay and this is where the barangay hall also operates. The area is the safest of all because the streets are always clean, officials always check the area and it’s also made higher, making it less prone to flooding than the rest. The barangay uses the hall as one of their evacuation areas alongside the Raha Fire Station in Barlin street, adjacent to P.Noval. I know this because my dormitory is just right next to the barangay hall and I have also experienced typhoons in the area but we are not greatly affected by it by any means.

I walked around the area to look at some of the hazards and found three that stand out the most since the problem with flooding has been eradicated in the past 2 years. As I stated a while ago, one of the hazards is that of which the buildings are built close to one another, making it dangerous when an earthquake or fire breaks out. 

The second one is the tangled wires. I see this in all of the streets that are encapsulated in the barangay and this can be a problem when there’s a storm and it can be a live wire that can cause several problems.

The third is the building that is currently being constructed in Antonio. They do not have safety nets hanging above for falling debris in case it happens and may result in an accident with the people who usually pass by under it.

I stopped by the barangay and met up with Kagawad Del Rabe and interviewed her about the different situations, programs, and disasters that the barangay already encountered. According to her, the area frequently experiences typhoons such as Ondoy, Pedring, Quiel, Sendong, etc. and all of them are on full alert, including the barangay tanods which were [roving around] the vicinity continuously. She said that they don’t experience earthquakes and fires much compared to the usual typhoons that engulf the country but if there are any, she said that the ones being greatly affected are the residents with stalls and food outlets out on the streets because they can’t operate like they used to and students who stay in dorms wouldn’t usually go out during a rainstorm.

Kagawad Del Rabe

The community knows about the upcoming disasters and its drills through the national alerts made by the government through PAGASA, NDRRMC, PHIVOLCS, MMDA, the Fire Department and the likes and follow suit with their punong barangay, Osmundo Perez to spearhead all of the activities such as fire and earthquake drills, weekly street clean-ups, basic life support seminars, and de-clogging.

They also take precautions by having these items in case of emergencies:

I think that the barangay and the rest of the community are doing a great job in looking after the area but they are still lacking in the areas of security, proper waste segregation, following policies (like prohibiting smoking in public areas), no proper evacuation site in the barangay itself, narrow streets, old buildings and with regards to the hazards I inserted above, I think the local government can take precautionary measures to assess the wires that are tangled up and to organize it properly and I hope that they can also order the constructors to add the protection needed for the building to be safe to walk under since it is right next to the road already.

This activity made me realize the importance of knowing what’s going on with our surroundings especially if you are planning on staying in that place for good. While conducting the kwentuhan and the community walk, I saw how safe my area is, since we are mostly students and how our officials and the residents of the community respect each other and help one another when disaster strikes.

Kagawad Del Rabe and I after the interview
We still need to address these issues because we still need to protect the country and its people in order to thrive and develop right next to other countries. This is also an important discussion because we are situated in the pacific ring of fire and the second-fastest sinking city in the whole world and if it isn’t taken seriously, it could be detrimental for us. That’s why we need to start small and I think that my barangay is proof that the country is capable of taking DRRM measures seriously and can slowly improve it as time goes by since most of the areas in the provinces still lack proper precautionary measures and they aren’t as resilient as the communities in urbanized cities yet. But with the technology and the information that we know, added with community awareness, we can withstand whatever comes our way.

We can fully address these problems by educating people and adding DRRR as one of the required courses to take in high school, by allocating more money to the government sectors that specializes in DRRM and by having more drills and community-based programs in a year. I will also encourage the members of our community to assess their surroundings and report it to the barangay and I will personally join any of the programs that they are making regarding this because I know that it is also for my own good.

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