Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday cautioned on the creation of a new department to respond to disasters noting that this move will only create “many levels in the bureaucracy” that may not be necessary.

robredo - New department for disaster response may be unnecessary — Robredo
Vice President Leni Robredo (FEDERICO CRUZ / MANILA BULLETIN)

Robredo, in a television interview, noted that one of the challenges when responding to disasters according to some local executives is that there are different agencies that do their own work. “Working in silos makes it very difficult to harmonize the policies of these many agencies having specific roles that sometimes contradict each other,” she added.

Asked to comment on the proposed creation of a Department of Disaster Response, Robredo said that while it it “worth studying,” it would be best to “assess first if we really need it.”

Currently, Robredo pointed out that there is already an existing agency which is responsible for ensuring the protection and welfare of the people during disasters or emergencies called the “National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council” (NDRRMC) which is under the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).

“Let’s assess first what is lacking in the present set-up that we need to create another department,” Robredo said. “If our only solution when problems arise is to create a new disaster [department], it will be more difficult because we might create unnecessary levels in the bureaucracy,” she added.

For Robredo, creating a new agency when there is already an existing one with the same set of tasks and function may not be practical. “It would be worth studying the existing agency and what is lacking or missing,” she said.

If what is lacking in the existing agency can be addressed by legislation or by “any other means,” Robredo said that there might be no need to create a new one. “If this will not really work, if it cannot be solved by any other means, then let’s create a new one,” she ended.

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