ONLY recently was this fairly strong earthquake that killed at least six people, injured dozens and destroyed millions of pesos worth of government and private property in several Mindanao provinces.
The magnitude 6.3 tremor struck Tulunan, Cotabato at around 7:37 p.m. at a depth of eight kilometers, but the United States Geological Survey recorded the earthquake at magnitude 6.4.
And quickly, two well-meaning members of the House of Representatives reiterated that it’s high time to speed up the creation of the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).
Pending consideration in the Lower Chamber of Congress are House Bill (HB) Nos. 3459 and 2001. Under the bills, the proposed department’s main purpose is to deal with disasters and other calamities.
Authored by Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco, HB No. 3459 calls for the creation of DDR, while Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas’ HB No. 2001 provides for the setting up of the Disaster Resiliency and Alertness Management (DReAM) Department.
Velasco, chair of the committee on rules, said the DDR will be headed by a secretary, with four undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and directors, who are preferably specialists in the field of disaster risk reduction.
In filing HB No. 3459, Congressman Vargas, vice chairman of the House committee on appropriations, noted that the Philippines is highly exposed to natural calamities and hazards.
Vargas wants the proposed department to oversee the disaster and climate resilience plans and programs in the country, which is visited by an average of 20 typhoons and storms every year.
The DReAM will equip the country with institutional capacity for disaster preparedness and emergency management, and build the resilience of local communities to disasters.
Indeed, as one of the world’s favorite “sparring partners” of destructive weather disturbances, particularly typhoons, the Philippines needs to have a Department of Disaster Resilience.