Even before the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, the municipality of Guagua has been experiencing the effect of flooding due to its low elevation and silted waterways. The situation worsened due to the collapse of dikes, flash flood occurrences and the absence of adequate water outlet due to excessive siltation brought about by the eruption. The disaster management program focused on communication and warning, rescue, evacuation and assistance operations, appropriate engineering intervention and infrastructure infusion like secondary dikes, pilot channels and sandbagging. There is likewise systematic risk monitoring and handling.
People’s participation is accomplished through the formation of the Barangay lnformation Organizing and Network Cadres (BIONIC) to facilitate information dissemination, networking and organizing. The Wawa Radio Communications Network (WARCON), a centralized communication system, was established in strategic locations of the diking system and waterways. On the other hand, the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) takes care of the rescue, evacuation and assistance operations. Both groups are composed of volunteers coming from the barangays, people’s groups and non-governmental organizations. The success of the program is evidenced by the dramatic decrease of projected losses from Php 125 million to Php 31 million based on the 1995 Bacolor Disaster. An estimated Php 8.5 billion worth of properties and produce have been saved. It benefited around 77,100 individuals out of the 95,363 total population, as there are 22 out of 31 barangays under the constant threat of flooding. The program also adopted the multi-hazard perspective to encompass other possible disaster situations like fire, earthquake, stampede, riots, etc. The program has maintained the required expertise for handling various disasters through continuous drills and simulation activities.
This program is recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Programs in the 1999 Galing Pook Awards.