UN Agency helps Islamic City of Marawi strengthen its Covid-19 response

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur: The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) continues the implementation of its initiative, Covid-19 Response as We Rebuild Marawi, by expanding its intervention towards the strengthening of the Incident Command Center (ICC) of Marawi City as it turns over a set of equipment and the final batch of Personal Protective Equiment (PPE) and disinfectant to the City Government on Wednesday.

The initiative, funded by UN-Habitat Global Emergency Response, not only aims the prevention of Covid-19 spread and ensuring food security, but also in supporting the City Government in its response to the current pandemic and future calamities.

The equipment is composed of computer server (data base server, firewall server), 55” TV screen, GSM for text blasting, internet router, among others. The provision of the equipment aims to enhance the capacity of the ICC of Marawi City on data collection before, during, and after disaster occurs, on providing early warning, monitoring of incidents and on-scene response.

The formation of the ICC has legal basis under Republic Act 10121, the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act; and was adopted locally for Covid-19 pandemic through Executive Order No. 2020-022, issued by City Mayor Atty. Majul Gandamra. The ICC is mandated to serve as on-scene disaster response system which is activated for emergencies and routine incident management. Its inter-agency structure enables a rapid and integrated response while at the same time avoids duplication of efforts and resources.

According to UN-Habitat Project Manager, Warren C. Ubongen, “Supporting our partner, the City Government of Marawi, in this pandemic, should not be limited to immediate relief or emergency response alone. It is important that we look at how the local government can build its long-term capacity for effective disaster response and recovery. Investing on its ICC will somehow ensure that the LGU will be in a better position to respond not only to this pandemic, but also to future calamities, whether it be natural or man-made.”

“By capacity strengthening, UN-Habitat provides not only the hardware component or equipment, but also the accompanying software part. We will be providing trainings and technical support focusing on emergency response and recovery to enhance the knowledge and skills of the key people who compose the ICC and who will be operating the equipment and system. We are exploring possible partnerships with other organizations specializing on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, such as the Philippine Disaster Resiliency Foundation (PDRF) with whom we can work hand in hand for the conduct of trainings for the ICC. Sustainable intervention for the operationalization of the ICC would count the most, in terms of preparedness, in the long term,” said Ubongen.

Various consultations conducted with the City Government of Marawi, as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic started to affect the city, identified the need for technology upgrade in responding to the current pandemic, hence, the provision of the equipment. The trainings which will be conducted will include Basic Incident Command System and Operation and Management of Emergency Operation Center (EOC).

Aside from the equipment, also handed over by UN-Habitat to Mayor Gandamra was the third and final set of personal protective equipment (gloves, helmet-type face shields, and disposable face masks), thermal scanners, and disinfectant supplies. As part of the initiative’s objective to stem coronavirus spread, a total of 200 face shields, 50 pairs of rain boots, 930 liters alcohol, 125 gallons sodium hypochlorite, 562 liters hand soap, 40 pcs. Thermal scanners, and 15 handwashing facilities were distributed since the initiative started on April 27, 2020.

These were distributed not only to the City Government of Marawi, but also to key partners (private organizations and government agencies) of UN-Habitat at the provincial/regional levels, and strategic checkpoints in Lanao del Sur guarded by the frontliners of health units, Philippine Army, and Philippine National Police (PNP).

The most recent increase in the number of Covid-19 positive cases in the province has made the provision of the PPEs and disinfectant supplies timely.

Police Lt. Col. Edgar Batoon of Lanao del Sur Police Provincial Office (LDS-PPO) commented, upon receiving the face shields and disinfectant supplies, “Our station is busy guarding the four checkpoints in the various entry points to the province. There are many locally stranded people who are coming home through the ‘Hatid Probinsya’ Program. It is our responsibility to monitor those who are entering the province while at the same time ensuring the safety of our frontliners.”

For more than a month now, under the Covid-19 Response As We Rebuild Marawi, community volunteers continue to operate the satellite market in Sagonsongan Transitory Site and mobile stores servicing a total of 15 barangays (villages) from the original target of 10 barangays.

Essential goods are brought closer to these communities at affordable prices so people living in the 15 far-flung barangays have greater access to food as they comply with mobility restrictions imposed by the government as part of infection control. Approximately 4,500 number of families from these barangays had been served by the satellite market and mobile stores. The initiative’s aim on enhancing food security in this pandemic will be further realized once its intensive vegetable production, currently at seedling planting stage in a greenhouse built in a 2,000 square meter farmlot in Brgy. Mipaga, goes into full operation in the next couple of weeks. (Photo credits to UN-Habitat/Mark Padida.)


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