Creation of Dep’t of Disaster Resilience pressed amid strong Davao quake

FOLLOWING the strong earthquake that hit Mindanao, two solons reiterated that it is high time to expedite the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).

Marinduque Representative Lord Alan Velasco and Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas have filed measures that seek to create DDR which main purpose is to deal with disasters and other calamities.

“There is now an immediate need for the passage of the DDR,” said Velasco, chairman of the House Committee on Energy, said.

Velasco has called on his colleagues to pass House Bill No. 3459 entitled “An Act Creating the Department of Disaster Resilience Defining its Powers And Functions, and Appropriating Funds Therefor.”

Under the bill, the department shall be headed by a secretary, with  four undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and directors who are “preferably specialists in the field of disaster risk reduction and management, science and technology, environmental science and management, urban planning, civil engineering, public finance, information and communications technology,  logistics management, mass communication and other fields relevant to disaster resilience.

For his part, Vargas, vice vhairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, pointed out that the Philippines is highly exposed to natural calamities and hazards, and therefore sees the urgency to have independent department that will oversee the disaster and climate resilience plans and programs of the government.

Pending for approval is Vargas’ House Bill 2001 or an Act Creating the Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management.

The proposed Disaster Resiliency and Alertness Management (DReAM) Department Bill, aimed to task the new government agency with strengthened coordination in terms of preparation, implementation of its resiliency programs, and monitoring and evaluation of disaster and climate resilience plans and activities.

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake rocked Mindanao killing at least six people and injured dozens.

The deaths include a child in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao; and three others, including a mother and her infant, in Magsaysay town, Davao del Sur.

The earthquake, which was tectonic in origin, struck Tulunan, Cotabato,  around 7:37 p.m. at a depth of 8 kilometers.

The United States Geological Survey, meanwhile, recorded the earthquake at magnitude 6.4.

“It’s about time to have this DReAM. This DReAm will equip the country with institutional capacity for disaster preparedness and emergency management, and build the resilience of local communities to disasters, natural or man-made, including climate change impacts,” Vargas said.