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Mr. Vinscent B.

Gahol is the officer-in-charge in the office of the Disaster Risk Reduction & Management
Division in Oriental Mindoro.

Q1: What is the state of Oriental Mindoro in terms of Natural Disasters?

According to him, like other provinces in the Philippines, Oriental Mindoro is not an exemption to the
average of 20 typhoons entering PAR and actually it is one of the most susceptible. There is an estimated
number of eight to ten (8-10) typhoons being experienced by Oriental Mindoro and of those, three (3) are
typically most destructive; Yolanda and Nona are some examples.

During typhoons come the secondary hazard, flooding, he said. Because Oriental Mindoro is gifted with
major waters and rivers and up until to date, although engineering interventions are being implemented,
said rivers are still unmanageable adding up to the hazard of flooding. When asked which community or
municipality in Oriental Mindoro is mostly devastated in times of such disasters, he mentioned Baco and
Naujan. The Municipality of Baco is prone to flooding because almost all of its barangays have many

Q2: What are your past experiences during natural disasters?

According to him, the disaster response before takes too long most especially because rescuers still comes
from Calapan City (the only city then with an organic personnel as a response team). He said that, Ang
problema talaga natin noon ay ang oras ng pagsagip ay napakahaba, lalo nat manggaling pa sa
Calapan ang response team. Until came the Republic Act 10121: Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction
Act of 2010, the act that made disaster management the major responsibility of the province. Evacuation
centers in barangay halls are being implemented.

Q3: What is the current state of evacuation centers in Oriental Mindoro and how can they be further

Currently, school classrooms and barangay halls are being used as evacuation centers by municipalities.
Mr. Gahol also argued, hindi rin naman safe [pertaining to barangay halls and school classrooms used
as temporary evacuation centers], ibig sabihin kung nasaan yung baha nandun din yung mga
schools/evacuation centers. Pero dahil wala ngang evacuation centers pinagtyatyagaan nalamang. He
said that in a single barangay hall is not spacious and only two to three (2-3) families could be
Oriental Mindoro is trying to continually improve barangay halls by putting up evacuation wards in
barangay halls that was implemented in 2013 using the standard of DSWD. Although standards for an
evacuation center is still not met.

Q4: Aside from an evacuation center, what facility do you think is needed by Oriental Mindoro that would
work harmoniously with the latter?

Mr. Gahol agreed that an evacuation center is not always needed by the province, although typhoons are
frequent. He sees it fit to incorporate a sports facility together with the evacuation facility. Marami
tayong sports competition dito sa Mindoro at kailangan natin ng facility para doon lalo na ang tulugan
ng mga athletes na nanggagaling pa sa ibat ibang rehiyon. Instead of accommodating athletes in hotels,
why not build a sports facility with lodging for them, he said as he strengthen his point. Because the
feature of evacuation facilitates has a spacious center, maybe it could also function as a training center or
seminar areas. Kaya kung makakagawa sana tayo ng isang evacuation center na parang isang sports
complex at convention center, maganda sana. Although a proposal is great, we must first identify a safe
and ideal location for the structure he said. He gave four strategic locations for the proposal which is
Calapan, Naujan, Victoria and Baco.

Q5: What are some of the factors that the researcher should consider when designing a Disaster Ready
Multi-purpose Facility?

First, we must consider the evacuees he emphasized. In the interview, Mr. Gahol specifically said,
kailangan hindi maramdaman ng mga tao na sila ay victims. For the researcher, this statement was one
of the most memorable lines in the interview as it fulfills the intent of the researcher to prioritize the
victims of natural disaster above anything else. He said that evacuees tend to go to evacuation centers to
feel safe and secure.

Second, we must consider sanitation of the evacuation facilities. Cleanliness should be exercised properly
most especially that during natural disasters, disease is more evident. Restrooms should be with
accordance to proper ratio and number of users of the facility.

Third is the consideration of general development and space planning. Proper spaces designated for
children, pregnant women, elderly and persons with disability (PWD) is vital for an evacuation center. It
is better if inside the evacuation center children could play and or hold classes. He also said that in a
community there is one or two PWD, and in DRRM they do not neglect these people. Ang isang buhay
na mawawala ay mahalaga. He emphasized.

Q1: What is the state of Baco, Oriental Mindoro in terms of Disaster Management and Preparedness?

As of now, this municipality is doing its best efforts to respond to disasters. As you can see our

Building for Disaster Management office is 90% completed. We also have newly purchased equipment,
such as rescue boats. We are maximizing our efforts in identifying flood prone areas throughout Baco. We
are providing trainings for our rescuers, equipping them with first-hand knowledge as to how they can
carry out their tasks efficiently. The municipality allots budget for food, medicine, gasoline and other
necessities. Hon. Mayor Reynaldo discussed.

Baco does not lack in manpower. That is what the Mayor emphasized. They are talking to residents of the
municipality, most especially those who have cars to help out in rescuing victims of natural disasters, as
well as the local police officers.

The best way of prevention is information. The Mayor said. nakikipag-usap na tayo sa mga tao,
lalong lalo na sa mga vulnerable families, and we are informing them as much as possible, LEVEL 1
means information, LEVEL 2 means evacuation.

Q2: What are your past experiences during natural disasters?

According to him, the municipalitys worst experience of natural disaster during his administration would
be the Typhoon Nona of December 2015.

Mayor Marco said that, Isang baranagay Barangay Bayanan, was totally washed out including their
Poblacion, 183 houses taken down, and natabunan talaga yan, nawala talaga yan. He also argued that
Bacos agricultural sector was greatly affected, the death of l. And for the first time, their Municipal Hall
was submerged in flood with a height of six feet, wherein all of the ground floor offices were underwater.
But Nona also left flood mud or banlik as the locals call it.

Bacos typhoon related casualty are only three. One was taken by the current, while the other two were
trapped in their houses and unfortunately were not rescued.
Q3: What is the current state of evacuation centers in the Municipality of Baco and how can they be
further improved?

The Mayor said that the first problem of evacuation centers in the municipalities is that they are very
small with only little space for victims. A barangay hall could only take in five affected families. Second
is that these evacuation centers are also flood prone. Mayor Marco specifically said that, Ang isa pang
problema ay itong mga evacuation centers na ito ay nasa flood prone areas din, kaya minsan kapagh
biglang laki ng tubig hindi na natin madadala ang mga evacuees sa center.

The third problem is the distribution of relief goods, because the evacuation centers are submerged in
flood, and with the strong current, rescue boats are unable to pass through. In order to somehow
counteract this, the Local Government Units or LGUs are already advising the residents that as early as
signal number 1, they should already prepare food, medications and other necessities. So that if the signal
reaches number 2, the residents would be ready to transfer to the evacuation centers.

Q4: Aside from an evacuation center, what facility do you think is needed by the Municipality of Baco
that would work harmoniously with the latter?

In other barangays they use their Barangay Halls as evacuation centers. Also these centers are used for
trainings and assemblies. So in a way their evacuation centers are already multi-purpose.

Q5: What are your thoughts on having a Disaster Ready Multi-purpose Facility in the Municipality of

Mayor Marco is positive that the proposal would be very beneficial for their municipality. Hon. Mayor
Marco specifically said, Yan ang talagang sakin ay number one porposal yan. Dahil ang Baco and isa sa
pinaka flood prone area sa Oriental Mindoro, kami ang catch basin ng Mt. Halcon. Ibig sabihin, lahat ng
tubig na nang gagaling sa bundok ay dumidiretso dito saamin. He said that an evacuation center is the
number one priority of the municipality.