ALTHOUGH the Philippines is a favorite “sparring partner” of powerful typhoons, the proposed establishment of a new department that would focus on disaster response is still pending consideration in Congress.
But the election of Albay Rep. Joey S. Salceda as head of the technical working group (TWG) to study and harmonize the 43 bills seeking to set up a new department of disasters is, without doubt, good news.
With Salceda at the helm of the TWG, Leyte 1st District Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilsvedt-Romualdez said the House of Representatives can easily pass a consolidated measure seeking to create the department.
The highly-effective lady solon is author of House Bill (HB) No. 344, one of the 43 proposed measures seeking the creation of the Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (DDPEM).
HB No. 344 was originally advocated by the lady lawmaker’s husband, Philippine Constitution Association (PHILCONSA) President Martin Romualdez, a former three-term Leyte congressman.
We share the view of Romualdez that the Philippines cannot continue to have a disaster organization that only has coordinative functions given the country’s too much exposure to disasters.
Romualdez said Congressman Salceda is a known authority on disaster management.
She said the Albay solon, who was even cited by the United Nations for his excellent work on disaster risk management, is a no-nonsense action man and very much determined to address the rising climate risks.
Romualdez recalled that Salceda was among the first local government leaders who visited the Typhoon Yolanda-battered communities in Eastern Visayas, including Tacloban City in Leyte.
“His expertise and sterling leadership will stir support for Congress’ immediate passage of the consolidated measure on the creation of disaster management department,” said Romualdez, a registered nurse and a vice chair of the House committee on government enterprises and privatization.
Creating the proposed DDPEM is a move in the right direction considering the worsening of climate change.