THE House committees on government reorganization and on disaster management have named two lawmakers, including Tingog party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt Romualdez, as heads of the technical working groups (TWGs) tasked to harmonize several bills aimed at creating the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).
This was an offshoot of the joint panel decision to consolidate several bills to create a government agency that will carry out policies and programs on disaster risk reduction and rehabilitation.
“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,” said Romualdez in filing House Bill (HB) No. 1151 to create DDR which her husband, House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, also signed as author.
Romualdez, the chairperson of the House Committee on the Welfare of Children, will head the committee on government reorganization’s TWG, while CWS party-list Rep. Romeo Momo, Sr. will lead the committee on disaster management’s TWG.
Topping the list of proposals is HB No. (HB) 4 of Speaker Alan Peter “Compañero” Cayetano and Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte, which seeks to establish the Emergency Response Department (ERD) that shall take over the policy-making, coordination, integration, supervision, monitoring and evaluation functions of the present ad hoc inter-agency council.
In the explanatory note of HB No. 4, Cayetano and Duterte described ERD as one equipped with bureaus specifically tasked to deal with concerns related to the pillars of disaster risk reduction and management, namely, disaster prevention and mitigation, disaster preparedness, and humanitarian and disaster response.
Stressing the importance of ERD, they said the Philippines is considered one of the nations “most-at-risk” of being struck by disasters and recurring hazards such as typhoons, floods, earthquakes and landslides.
Cayetano and Duterte said the present law on disasters, Republic Act (RA) No 10121, otherwise known as the “Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010,” revolutionized disaster risk reduction and management in the country but is due to be updated in view of the fast changing times.