Disaster agency coming

September 15, 2019
Martin Romualdez

Romualdez couple, other solons assure passage of proposed law creating Department of Disaster Resilience in current Congress

HOUSE leaders led by the Romualdez couple on Sunday assured the public that the 18th Congress would pass the measure proposing the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR), a primary agency which would be responsible for leading the national effort before, during and after disasters.

Tingog party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt Romualdez, the chairperson of the House Committee on the Welfare of Children, and House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, who chairs the House Committee on Rules, underscored the importance of approving the DDR.

“A new Department of Disaster Resilience will effectively improve the institutional capacity of the government for disaster risk reduction and management, reduce the vulnerabilities surrounding the affected local population as well as build the resilience of local communities to both natural disasters and climate change,” the Romualdez couple said in filing House Bill (HB) No. 1151 to create the DDR.

“Guaranteeing disaster resiliency through closer coordination and stronger management synchronization at all levels of the country’s disaster risk reduction and management system cannot be delayed any further,” they said.

Ako Bisaya party-list Rep. Sonny Lagon, and Deputy Speakers Raneo Abu of Batangas and Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte of Camarines Sur joined the Romualdez couple in assuring the passage of the DDR.

Lagon stressed the need to drastically reduce, if not totally eliminate, the bureaucratic red tape that has caused many delays in the delivery of immediate assistance needed by disaster and calamity victims

“The House leadership is committed to pass all pending bills aimed at creating a government agency that would specifically deal with disasters and other calamities in the country. This is also the President’s commitment to the public to ensure their safety,” said Lagon.

Abu underscored the need for a coherent government response to disasters under a new agency that would be called the DDR, adding that the country has been visited by an average of 20 tropical cyclones every year which produce floods, landslides and storm surges.

“We have to pass the DDR with dispatch to effectively respond to the disasters without delays,” said Abu.

Villafuerte filed HB No.  398 in support of President Duterte’s call during his latest State of the Nation Address (SONA) for the speedy congressional approval of a law creating the DDR, which would oversee national efforts in disaster prevention, relief work and climate resilience.

“The DDR will help ensure that the country is on top of all climate change developments with residents who are safe and ready before, during and after the occurrence of a natural disaster,” said Villafuerte, who is also a member of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).

“It is high time that the Philippines, through legislation, take a decisive step towards resiliency, stability and full readiness in the face of natural disasters. It cannot continue to resort to band-aid measures like creating temporary government agencies to deal with serious, persistent and pressing issues such as climate change and disaster management,” Villafuerte added.