Senator Grace Poe renewed on Friday her call for the passage of her bill seeking to create a “Department of Disaster Resilience and Emergency Assistance and Management” and introduce reforms in the government’s calamity response.

poe - Create Dept. of Disaster Resilience and Emergency Assistance, Sen. Poe urges
Senator Grace Poe (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Poe appealed for “better response to calamities and swift aid” to residents in evacuation centers a floods and typhoons again ravage provinces amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Walang ibang aasahan ang ating mga kababayan sa gitna ng kalamidad kundi ang agarang saklolo ng buong galamay ng gobyerno (Our people do not have anyone to rely on except the government and its immediate assistance),” Poe said in a statement.

“Napakahirap para sa mga nagdarahop na pamilya na lumikas sa kani-kanilang tahanan bunsod ng bagyo at sa gitna pa ng pandemya (It’s difficult for families to leave their homes due to the typhoons, especially in the middle of a pandemic),” she added.

Poe said her Senate Bill No. 124 or the proposed “Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management System Act” seeks to reform disaster risk reduction management institutions by establishing the Department of Disaster Resilience and Emergency Assistance and Management, which would have three bureaus to handle calamity prevention, response and management, respectively.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council shall also be part of the proposed department.

The bill also pushes for local government units to “build back better” and delimit their duties from recovering to rebuilding communities to become more resilient to future calamities.

Calls for the creation of a department for disaster management floated anew as a weather disturbances hit the country.

Tropical storm Pepito displaced this month more than 5,000 individuals in three regions in Luzon, forcing families to stay in evacuation centers. 

Just after Pepito’s onslaught, typhoon “Quinta” entered the country and killed at least 22 from Region 4-B, Bicol Region and Central and Western Visayas. It also caused nearly P2 billion in damages to agriculture and infrastructure.

Another strong typhoon, “Rolly”, is expected to make landfall over Central Luzon over the weekend.

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