DND chief tells military camp chiefs: Conserve water amid El Niño

By Priam Nepomuceno

February 15, 2024, 8:59 am

<p>DND Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr. (PNA file photo)</p>

DND Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr. (PNA file photo)

MANILA – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. on Wednesday ordered all military camp commanders to take the lead in water conservation amid the existing El Niño phenomenon. 

Secretary Teodoro's order was in line with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s directive for government intervention, DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.

The DND chief issued the water conservation order to the military during the second meeting of the Task Force El Niño held at the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Monday. 

In the meeting, the DND chief emphasized the need for everybody to support and practice daily the government’s water conservation policy. 

"Secretary Teodoro emphasized the need to repair facilities such as leaking pipes to prevent additional water wastage. He also added that all military personnel and their dependents living inside military camps 'must do their part in the whole-of-government approach to mitigate the El Niño effects'," Andolong said.

The DND chief said the directive to military camp commanders was issued in compliance with Marcos’ Executive Order (EO) 53 which directs the government to streamline, reactivate, and reconstitute the old El Niño task forces under EO No. 16 (s. 2001) and Memorandum Order No. 38 (s. 2019) signed on Jan. 19, 2024.

Marcos’ executive order directs the task force to develop a comprehensive disaster preparedness and rehabilitation plan for El Niño and La Niña to provide “systematic, holistic, and results-driven interventions” to help the public cope and minimize their devastating effects.

The Chief Executive designated Teodoro as the task force chairperson, while Science and Technology Secretary Renato Solidum was designated as co-chairperson.

The President also appointed the following officials as task force members: Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, Secretary of Agriculture Francis Tiu Laurel Jr., Secretary of Health Teodoro J. Herbosa, and Secretary of National Economic and Development Authority Arsenio Balisacan.

As this developed, the OCD, in cooperation with other government agencies, announced that it is continuously implementing interventions to strengthen the disaster preparedness of the country.

Among the priorities are ensuring infrastructure resilience and the availability of adequate disaster response resources nationwide.

OCD administrator, Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno has directed the regional offices of OCD to ensure the availability of an updated list of critical facilities alongside the inspection report of the integrity of the structures in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and other concerned agencies.

The memorandum order issued by Nepomuceno to OCD regional directors cited the desired outcome no. 3 of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan (NDRRMP) 2020-2030 under the Prevention and Mitigation pillar, which states that there is a need for an "increased structural integrity of housing, building, and critical infrastructure.”

The OCD chief also instructed the regional directors to submit reports of the available rescue assets but not limited to rescue vehicles like rubber boats, heavy rescue equipment, water filtration machines, and information and communication equipment, among others.

“We asked our OCD regional directors to coordinate with relevant agencies regarding the list and integrity of critical facilities as well as to have an inventory of all disaster response assets. This is part of our continuous readiness assessment,” Nepomuceno said. (PNA)