President Duterte is prepared to make do with the government’s present disaster response system after some lawmakers opposed the proposed creation of a new department to handle such concern. 

CELI30 2 1024x683 - Duterte backtracks on Department of Disaster Resilience, says he can make do with the present setup
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/ MANILA BULLETIN)

The President admitted that there has been a “resistance” in Congress to the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience due to supposed redundancy.

The bill seeking to create new department related to disaster risk reduction and response  is one of the priority bills earlier endorsed by the President.

“We’re having a resistance, sa Congress mismo. May iba doble na daw. It’s duplication of work. Tama na daw ‘yang isa (We’re having a resistance in Congress. Some said it’s a duplication of work. They said one agency is enough),” he said during a press conference in Camarines Sur Sunday afternoon.

“Pero sa akin, okay lang, I can do it in the meantime na maski ‘yan lang (But for me, that’s okay.  I can do it in the meantime even with just one). What is important is that you have the machineries and you have the equipment, and you have the money, and people are there deployed before the typhoon comes,” he said added.

At present, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council oversees the government’s preparations and response in times of typhoons and other natural calamities.

The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the proposed Disaster Resilience Act last September. Under the bill, the Department of Disaster Resilience will serve as main agency responsible for leading, managing, and organizing national efforts to prevent and reduce disaster risks; prepare for and respond to disasters; and recover, rehabilitate, and build forward better after the destruction.

A similar measure, meanwhile, remained pending in the Senate.

Senator Franklin Drilon earlier claimed that there was no need for a full department for disaster resilience, adding it would only bloat the bureaucracy instead of streamlining it. The senator instead proposed strengthening the planning and coordination of concerned agencies involved in disaster response.  

Senator Panfilo Lacson is also opposed to the creation of another department which would only be a financial burden to the government.  Lacson said a dedicated office under the Office of the President that can mobilize agencies for disaster preparedness and response could do the job with much less funding and minimum number of staff and personnel.

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