Manila disaster management chief resigns

Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this story, we reported that Yu resigned “in the wake” of the fire. He filed his resignation letter two days before the incident, for “personal reasons.” This has been corrected. We apologize for the error.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) chief Johnny Yu has resigned.

"I have tendered my resignation effective March 25 (letter dated March 16 and approved by the Mayor) as DRRMO head whatever reasons I hold... Thank you for giving us the opportunity to work with you," Yu told Rappler in a text message on Tuesday, March 20.

He did not elaborate why he decided to step down.

Yu's role in MDRRMO: Just last Sunday, March 18, Yu was overseeing operations on the ground as firemen battled the Waterfront Manila Pavilion Hotel & Casino fire that left at least 5 people dead and 24 others injured.

He provided updates on the casualties, and was also first to relay to media that firemen discovered the sprinklers of the hotel-casino complex did not function.

According to the implementing rules of Republic Act No. 10121, civilian DRRMOs are responsible for setting up programs to reduce disaster risks in their jurisdictions. Should disaster strike, they are expected to "respond and manage [its] adverse effects."

They should also "promote and raise public awareness" of compliance with disaster risk reduction standards.

Yu has headed the MDRRMO since 2013. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.