GMA to prioritize legislation creating disaster resilience department
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - August 2, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has directed her allies in the House of Representatives to prioritize the legislation and approval of the measure creating the Department of Disaster Resilience, replacing the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. 

“That takes priority on our agenda. I can calendar it for discussion in the middle of the budget hearings. That is very much possible,” Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, told ANC’s “Headstart” on Monday. 

He said that once the proposal gets approved, he can realign funding for the new body.  

Two House committees – government reorganization and national defense and security – have earlier been given the go-signal by Arroyo to expedite the approval of the measure replacing NDRRMC.  

“Speaker Arroyo directed us to fast-track the passage of the bill and so we worked on it right away and were able to approve it at the committee level,” lone Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo, chairman of the House committee on government reorganization, said.  

The Romualdo panel and the committee on national defense and security of Pangasinan Rep. Amada Espino have jointly approved the substitute bill creating the DDR, after President Duterte called on Congress during his State of the Nation Address to create a disaster management department. 

Under the substitute bill, the DDR will be the national government agency primarily responsible for disaster preparedness, prevention, mitigation, response, recovery and rehabilitation.  

The substitute bill is a consolidation of eight different bills that sought to create departments and agencies for disaster management, resilience, preparedness and rehabilitation. 

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, author of the DDR proposal in the House, said passing the DDR measure or House Bill 6075, would be easier with Arroyo since she is familiar with such legislation.

Arroyo approved during her presidency, Republic Act 10121 in 2010, the law which sought to “strengthen the Philippine disaster risk reduction and management system,” he said.

A noted economist and pioneer of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in the country, Salceda submitted his bill immediately after Duterte’s 2017 SONA. He headed the technical working group that consolidated 43 other related proposals with his own.

Pursuant to the rules of the House, the bill will now be transmitted to the committee on appropriations under Nograles for its comments on the appropriation or funding provisions of the measure.  

Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas has also authored House Bills 1379 and 1812 as well as House Resolution 80 that aim to reduce the impact of natural calamities that could hit the country in the future.

House Bill 1379 is entitled “An Act Including Responsive Empowered and Service-Centered Youth in the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council” while HB 1812 is “An Act Providing for the Construction of a Multi-purpose Gym in all Municipalities and Cities.”

House Resolution 80 seeks to conduct a House inquiry on the structural integrity of La Mesa Dam in Quezon City in case of a destructive earthquake or other natural disasters. 

GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO
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