Go renews call for passage of disaster resilience bills

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Bong Go has renewed his call for the passage of his twin measures establishing the Department of Disaster Resilience and requiring the construction of mandatory evacuation centers.

He made the appeal in the wake of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit Northern Luzon.

Senate Bill 188 aims to establish a Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) that seeks to 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.

“I, as your senator, at the opening of Congress, filed Senate Bill 188, this is the Department of Disaster Resilience. I filed this a long time ago in the 18th Congress,” Go said in Filipino in an ambush interview after personally distributing assistance to indigent residents of Manay, Davao Oriental on Thursday.

“If this bill passes, we will have a cabinet secretary level department. That will be the focus at the cabinet secretary level,” he added.

Go said he felt the need to re-file the bill because “the Philippines’ experiences with natural disasters have shown that the existing laws, policies, resources, and institutional arrangements governing disaster management lacked responsiveness to the country’s requirements for disaster resilience.”

“There needs to be a dedicated office, and immediate coordination. A cabinet secretary level that fellow cabinet secretaries will respect. That’s what we want to happen, a department that focuses on disaster-related situations,” stressed Go.

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

Aside from the DDR bill, Go also re-filed Senate Bill 193, or the Mandatory Evacuation Center Bill, which seeks to require every province, city, and municipality to construct such centers that would be equipped with emergency packs, medicines and other basic necessities.

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