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Metro Manila approved Implementation Plan on the Management of the Dead and Missing Persons / PIA

NCR okays protocol for management of dead, missing persons

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Government officials in Metro Manila have signed and approved a region-wide Implementation Plan on the Management of the Dead and Missing Persons (MDM) following any major disaster.

According to Regional Director Maria Lourdes Agustin, CESO III of the Department of the Interior and Local Government-National Capital Region (DILG-NCR), the Central Office Disaster Information Coordinating Center (DILG CODIX) has recognized the regional implan for being the first among the other regions.

“NCR pa lamang po ang nakagagawa nito [implan]. As always first placer tayo. We should lead and then, assist the other regions when the time comes,” she said.

Agustin said, however, that crafting the implan and being the lead agency in MDM as a major component of the over-all disaster risk reduction and management of NCR has had its share of challenges.

“For the longest time, we have been bombarded with issues in handing this topic because NCR, especially the DILG is new to this. When the responsibility of managing the dead and missing persons was given to us in 2016, we were very new to this, but along the way, ang dami naming natutunan from stakeholders,” Agustin said.

It can be recalled that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) issued Memorandum Circular No. 19 in 2016, which provides the policies, guidelines, plans and implementation procedures pertaining to all aspects of DRRM including the MDM.

“It’s good that we already have this regional implan, I know this is not yet a perfect document, but at least we have something to hold on in case there is something that happens in the region and this will be our go-to document. Walang turuan, we know our roles and responsibilities in each and every agency,” the DILG official said.

Agustin said to ensure cost-effective utilization of funds, promote efficiency and value-for-money among stakeholders, a series of capability development trainings would have to be conducted next.

“Ano ba ang kailangan natin na training? Ano ba ang kailangan nating equipage? For us to be able to effectively execute what is in the implan… We also have the help of one of the key offices in the DILG assisting us for the longest time, Mr. Robin Lim of CODIX.  We can meet again to work on our capability building initiatives. We can source funds from foundations, from other offices, which can help us also,” she added.

Moreover, Agustin said local government units (LGUs) have a big role in MDM. “This is already a good start. We hope to cascade this [document] also to our city and municipal offices.” 

As part of preparedness efforts and disaster response of the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MMDRRMC), she said the document would help Metro Manila’s 17 LGUs to organize and have an efficient system of coordination with national government agencies in times of disasters and calamities.

“The MDM is a very delicate matter to handle, we’ll have to ensure proper and dignified management of the dead and pay our last respects for them, and also facilitate and take care of the families. Ang lawak nito, ang lawak ng MDM, hindi lang ‘yung patay, pati ‘yung buhay and pati ‘yung mga nawawala,” she added. 

Among those who expressed their respective agency’s backing include Michael Salalima, the DRR focal and representative of Chairperson Danilo Lim of the MMDRRMC and MMDA, MMDRRMC Senior Vice Chair and OCD Regional Director Romulo Cabantac, DSWD Regional Director Vicente Gregorio Tomas, and PIA Regional Director Emver Cortez.

Also joining them in the cluster collaboration were Bureau of Fire Protection Regional Director Chief Superintendent Wilberto Rico Neil Kwan Tiu, Police Colonel Eliseo Panding of the PNP-NCRPO, PNP Crime Laboratory Director Police Brigadier General Rolando Hinanay, Dr. Joseph Romero and Dr. Joseph David representing NBI-NCR Regional Director lawyer Cezar Bacani, George Carpio of DENR-NCR, DPWH-NCR’s Ernie Leo Laput, and DepEd Assistant Regional Director Valentino Aquino. (PIA InfoComm)

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