Dec 122014

Following the government’s preemptive actions to Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit), Malacañang on Saturday expressed hopes this could be the start of a “culture of preparedness.”

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said such a culture is needed in dealing with an average of 20 cyclones that pass through the country every year.

“Coming off our recent experience with Ruby, we hope we’re evolving to a culture of preparedness,” she said on government-run dzRB radio.

In the weekend before Ruby was projected to make landfall over Eastern Visayas, local governments in Bicol and Visayas preemptively evacuated residents in danger zones.

As of Saturday morning, figures from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council showed Ruby left at least 18 dead.

The Philippines earned praise from many in the international community for the preemptive actions.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations said its secretary-general Le Luong Minh cited the preemptive efforts in mitigating losses and damages.

“ASEAN Chief commended Philippines for its early warning efforts and disaster preparedness plans which mitigated losses and damages,” the ASEAN said.

Minh also expressed ASEAN’s sympathy to the Philippines in the wake of Ruby – while still recovering from super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

Australia welcomed continued reports that “preparedness by local authorities has helped to limit the impact of the typhoon.”

It also promised to “continue to work with the Philippine Government and international partners to support the typhoon response as required.”

“Our actions tend to show we are starting to (imbibe) a culture of preparedness,” Valte said. — Joel Locsin/VC, GMA News

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