DESPITE its bitter experience from cataclysmic floods that killed hundreds in 2009 and the fact that it sits on a fault line, Marikina City has not come up with its disaster risk reduction program, according to the Commission on Audit (COA).
“Our audit of the local disaster risk reduction and management fund disclosed [that] the city had no approved Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan for 2011 and the corresponding Work and Financial Plan was not prepared,” state auditors said.
The commission noted that Marikina City failed to institute a Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office as required under Republic Act (RA) 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.
The name of the city was the former name of the only fault line running beneath Metropo Manila, which stretches from San Mateo, Rizal province to the cities of Marikina, Makati, Parañaque, Pasig and Taguig.
Earthquake experts from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology claim that the fault line can rip through the metropolis if a seven-magnitude earthquake hit the area.
Lying on a valley, Marikina has also been threatened by floods and swelling rivers, particularly the famed Marikina River which caused the deluge when typhoon Ondoy hit in September 2009.
In 2011, the city council passed Ordinance 32 which ordered the creation of the Marikina City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MCDMC) and the Marikina City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MCDMO).
However, COA revealed that as of the issuance of its report, “the city has not yet formed the MCDMO.”
At present, the chief of the City Transportation Management and Development Office is temporarily handling disaster matters in concurrent capacity.
But COA said that an office for setting the direction, development, implementation and coordination of disaster risk management programs is necessary.
It added that Marikina officials have spent a meager amount for disaster mitigation and preparedness.
In 2011, Marikina appropriated P76.02 million or five percent of its estimated revenues from regular sources for the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF), formerly the calamity fund.
However, the city only expended P8.43 million or 11.10 percent of its LDRRMF for 2011, where P4.24 million was disbursed for mitigation fund and P4.2 million for quick response fund.
Available balance is still high at P67.58 million.
“Programs, projects and activities like purchase of tools and equipment, conduct of training and disaster drills, which are very important in the preparedness of the community for any disaster, were not undertaken considering that Marikina is disaster-prone,” COA said.
It added that 70 percent of the mitigation fund was spent for repairs and maintenance and depreciation expenses.
COA asked the Marikina City Hall to immediately implement RA 10121 and City Ordinance 32 of 2011.
City hall officials said that Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has already issued a resolution, instructing the use of five percent of the Calamity Fund.
It has also allocated P123.53 million for various programs and projects.
On the creation of MCDMO, Marikina officials have not yet been organized due to lack of venue that will house equipment and facilities related to disaster preparedness.
City Hall is still gathering department heads and staff members who possess the required knowledge and skills in disaster mitigation planning.