If the Senate could spend some P10 billion to construct its own building at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City, there is no reason for senators not to support the proposed creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience, which would only require an initial funding of P2 billion, House Committee on Ways and Means chairman Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said Sunday.
The House leader turned the tables on the Senate after Senators Richard Gordon and Panfilo Lacson thumbed down the creation of the DDR, believing it would be an additional layer of bureaucracy.
Lacson had earlier said at least P1.5 billion is needed to set up such new department.
“Well, gastos din pala ‘yung paglipat sa BGC, unahin na nila ‘yun. Napakasimple lang naman ang sinasabi ko, unahin muna ‘yung P10 billion na paglipat sa BGC,” he told the DZBB in an interview in a sarcastic tone.
(Well, their transfer to the BGC is also an expense, they should prioritize that. What I am saying is very simple, let them prioritize their P10-billion expense for their transfer to the BGC)
“Napakasimple lang naman ang argumento diyan eh, kanya-kanya tayong priorities, ano ba ang prayoridad mo?” the vice chairperson of the House Committee on Appropriations added.
(The argument there is very simple, we have our own priorities, what is your priority?)
Salceda, one of the principal authors of the DDR bill, said given that disasters are a fact of life in the country, the government should pour in resources to a new department that would ensure that the loss of life can be avoided during disasters.
“Ang Mayon hindi ko malipat ng Masbate, ang mga bagyo hindi ko mailipat ng Japan, ang mga paglindol hindi ko mailipat mula sa Mindanao papunta kung saan. Siyempre mga permanente na ito dahil sa lokasyon ng Pilipinas. Ang permanenteng problema, kailangan ng permanenteng solusyon,” he said.
(I cannot transfer Mayon to Masbate, I cannot relocate the typhoons to Japan, I cannot transfer the earthquakes from Mindanao to somewhere else. These disasters are permanent because of the location of the Philippines. Permanent problems need permanent solutions)
He said there has to be an “integrated and comprehensive approach” in addressing the calamities and disasters even as he warned that more lives will be lost if the current system is not corrected.
“Eh maraming mamamatay sa gusto ng Senado, ‘yun ang gusto kong sagutin nila. Ibig sabihin parang sinasabi nila inevitable, eh samantalang ang karamihan po ng namamatay dahil sa sakuna ay preventable kung meron tayong institusyon para ayusin ‘yan para ihanda ang mga tao, ang mga komunidad at lokal government,” Salceda said.
(More lives will be lost with the Senate’s position, I want them answerable to that. It looks like they are saying that loss of lives is inevitable, while the loss of lives during calamities is preventable if we have an institution that would address and prepare our people, our community, and local government)