At Imee's suggestion, Marcos Jr. switches stance on new disaster department

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
At Imee's suggestion, Marcos Jr. switches stance on new disaster department
Philippine President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr (R) poses with his certificate of proclamation as the country's president with Senate President Vicente Sotto III, as his mother and former first lady Imelda Marcos (2nd R) and Senator Imee Marcos-Manotoc look on at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, suburban Manila on May 25, 2022.
AFP / Jam Sta. Rosa

MANILA, Philippines — National and local officials got a peek into Marcos family dynamics during a situation briefing on Thursday after the magnitude-7 earthquake that hit the province as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. changed his tune on the creation of a Department of Disaster Resilience following suggestions from elder sister Sen. Imee Marcos.

During a news conference in Malacañang on Wednesday, the president answered in the affirmative after he was asked if he will push for passage of the bill creating the DDR. He said that "we need a specialist agency" given the frequency of natural disasters in the country.

The chief executive had changed his mind a day later, saying at a situation briefing in Bangued, Abra that "we have to disabuse ourselves with the idea of another whole department." 

Sen. Marcos suggested earlier in the same briefing to strengthen the existing disaster agency by placing it under the Office of the President.

"Rather than a full-scale department where our budget would just be depleted due to salaries for five undersecretaries and so many assistant secretaries, can we start by [establishing] an NDRRMC authority or administration?" the senator said.

"We are siblings indeed," the president said in response, adding that he fully agrees with his sister’s proposal and that he "did not ever understand" the concept of having another department.

"I don’t think it needs that because you don’t really have to form policy. It is just an implementation of a rescue mission or search and rescue mission," President Marcos said.

With a go-signal from the president, House Speaker Martin Romualdez, a cousin of the two Marcoses and who was also present in the briefing, said the chamber "shall support the good senator’s proposal."

Romualdez: We can 'rightsize' DDR measure

Later, when Sen. Marcos pointed out that her proposal differs from the ones filed in the House, Romualdez told the president that they will "rightsize" the measure.

Incidentally, one of Romualdez’ first acts as a re-elected Leyte representative was to file a bill creating the DDR, which, unlike what the president envisions, also has policy-making functions. The proposed new department would have had the power to draw up and implement an integrated and comprehensive disaster risk reduction, preparedness and response management program.

In fact, the bill is eligible to be expedited under House rules, which allow committees to dispose of measures that have already been passed in the previous Congress. The House in the 18th Congress passed the DDR bill in September 2020, but its progress stalled in the Senate.

vuukle comment




  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with