He underscored the urgency of creating an agency solely dedicated to concerns on disaster mitigation and response as he worked through at least 43 legislative proposals similar to House Bill 6075 he filed.
AP/Aaron Favila
Duterte approves new anti-disaster agency
Cet Dematera (The Philippine Star) - July 15, 2018 - 12:00am

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines — President Duterte has agreed to the proposed bill creating the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR), said Rep. Joey Salceda, who was tasked by Congress last year to head a technical working group that would finalize the proposed measure for plenary consideration.

He underscored the urgency of creating an agency solely dedicated to concerns on disaster mitigation and response as he worked through at least 43 legislative proposals similar to House Bill 6075 he filed.

“A really strong disaster agency is essential for a sensible economic blueprint. And since typhoons are being noted to be getting stronger and broader in impact in recent years, the creation of the DDR should be an urgent agenda to consider,” he said.

The Albay, 2nd District representative filed HB 6075 in response to a call made by President Duterte during the 2017 State of the Nation Address (SONA) for lawmakers to craft a law that will establish an agency that will help Filipinos adapt better to extreme weather conditions.

Salceda said the new agency will be “tasked to carry out a continuous, consistent and fortified calamity defense program and ensure the country’s sustainable development and inclusive growth.”

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) currently handles the country’s disaster risk reduction efforts.

But Salceda believes that the country needs the “strategic and systematic approaches to disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and the effective programs on rehabilitation and recovery” handled by an agency that has its own mandate.

The country’s situation, he added, is critical since the Philippines ranks third among 171 countries worldwide considered “most exposed and vulnerable to natural calamities” and listed as 13th in the Climate Change Vulnerability Index.

Almost 74 percent of the country’s population and 80 percent of its land area have been identified as vulnerable to disasters, with Manila marked as “in extreme risk,” he added.

With an initial budget of P10 billion, the proposed DDR aims to take in at least four government agencies critical to an effective disaster planning and operation – the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration; Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology under the Department of Science and Technology; Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources; and the Bureau of Fire Protection under the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

ANTI-DISASTER AGENCY
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