By Hilda Austria

LA NIÑA PREPARATION. La Union Governor Raphaelle Veronica Ortega-David conducts inventory of the province’s rescue equipment in this undated photo at the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office headquarters in San Fernando City, La Union. The province gears up for the forecast threat of the La Niña phenomenon. (Photo courtesy of PGLU)

MALASIQUI, Pangasinan – The province of La Union has raised the blue alert status and allocated PHP12-million fund for the establishment of early warning system (EWS) in preparation for the La Niña phenomenon

Governor Raphaelle Veronica Ortega-David, in a statement on Monday, said the blue alert status requires all rescue personnel and equipment on standby in case of emergency aligned with the usual preemptive action of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO).

This, following the forecast of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) of La Niña’s threat, which is projected to be experienced between July to September this year.

Ortega-David assured her constituents that all necessary measures and resources are in place for any eventuality.

“We forge stronger networks with the city and municipal disaster risk reduction and management offices and the respective disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) councils, as together we remain resolute in keeping a disaster resilient constituency,” she said.

PDRRMO assistant officer Alvin Cruz said they have activated an Incident Management Team to monitor any incidents or weather disturbances every 12 hours.

“We also continue to strengthen our networks with our local DRRMs to ensure that equipment and manpower are on standby to respond to any emergencies,” he said.

PDRRMO has three ambulances, three rescue vehicles, two jet skis, one rescue truck, and one rubber boat already prepositioned to ensure swift response to weather-related emergencies. Food items, medicines and hygiene kits are also on standby.

Cruz said a PHP12-million fund has been allocated by the provincial government to mitigate the potential risk in flood-prone areas.

He said the fund will be for the acquisition of EWS for the coastal towns of Luna and San Juan.

“The EWS infrastructure is crucial in alerting residents of imminent hazards, and signals evacuation during high emergency situations,” he added.

The other towns being monitored due to high risk of flooding are the towns of Bacnotan, Balaoan, and Bangar in the first district; and Agoo and Aringay in the second district, while the towns of San Gabriel, Burgos, Bagulin, Pogo and Rosario are also being monitored for rain-induced landslides.

PDRRMO reminded residents to be vigilant and take proactive measures this season such as monitoring weather updates, preparation of go-bags, and calling the emergency hotline 911 if deemed necessary. (PNA)