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Senators renew call for department for disaster resilience

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star
Senators renew call for department for disaster resilience
Sen. Bong Go has reintroduced in the 19th Congress his bill that aims to establish a Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR). The measure seeks to create a highly specialized agency that will be tasked with ensuring adaptive, disaster-resilient and safe communities.
STAR / Boy Santos, file

MANILA, Philippines — Senators are pushing for the immediate enactment of bills to strengthen the country’s response to calamities, including the creation of a department for disaster resilience.

Sen. Bong Go has reintroduced in the 19th Congress his bill that aims to establish a Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR). The measure seeks to create a highly specialized agency that will be tasked with ensuring adaptive, disaster-resilient and safe communities.

Go appealed to his fellow lawmakers to give their support for the said measure as it aims to unify and streamline all responsibilities related to disaster preparedness and response.

“Before the storm comes, there is already one who will coordinate with local government units (LGUs), preposition goods and evacuate our countrymen to safer places. And when the storm passes, the immediate restoration of normalcy, that’s the aim of the Department of Disaster Resilience,” Go said in Filipino.

The proposed DDR will bring together all essential functions and mandates currently scattered among various disaster-related agencies.

Once established, it shall be primarily responsible for implementing programs, projects and activities that ensure communities are disaster-resilient, adaptive and safe.

To support the DDR’s functions and responsibilities, the measure also provides for the creation of an Integrated Disaster Resilience Information System (IDRIS) which will serve as a database of all relevant disaster risk reduction and climate change information.

The IDRIS will allow the timely and accurate processing, analysis and dissemination of information to ensure effective decision making and coordination at the national and local levels of government.

Moreover, the bill also provides for the establishment of a Humanitarian Assistance Action Center, a one-stop shop for the processing and release of goods, equipment and services, in order to guarantee the timely delivery of assistance to disaster-stricken areas.

It likewise provides for remedial measures for areas under a state of calamity, such as the imposition of price ceiling on basic necessities and prime commodities, programming or reprogramming of funds for the repair of public infrastructures and grant of no-interest loans by lending institutions to vulnerable groups or individuals.

The bill also seeks to establish the National Disaster Operations Center and Alternative Command and Control Centers to monitor, manage and respond to disasters.

There will also be a Disaster Resilience Research and Training Institute which will offer training and collect, manage and share information to improve the country’s resilience.

The senator maintained that a new department with a secretary in charge would ensure more focused government efforts during calamities. This will also support President Marcos’ pronouncements in his inaugural speech to “spare victims” and “help them recover” from the impact of climate change.

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