Sen. Grace Poe urged lawmakers Thursday not to shelve proposals that seek to create a separate Department of Disaster Resilience as she pushed for the passage of the bill seeking to consolidate all DDR activities and management programs and policies in the country.
Poe said “rightsizing” the government bureaucracy is a must to give way to much-needed disaster preparedness and heightened resilience and accord utmost protection to the most vulnerable in the face of worsening calamities.
The senator had earlier filed Senate Bill No. 124 or the proposed Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management System Act of 2019, which seeks the creation of a disaster risk reduction and management department with full powers and mandate to strategize and carry out a comprehensive plan against the devastating impact of disasters in the country.
“Hindi na dapat pang malubog at malugmok ang ating mga kababayan sa pilay na istruktura ng burukrasiyang ang pundasyon ay hindi makapagbuhos ng malawakang paghahanda laban sa sunud-sunod na kalamidad (Our people should not be made to suffer from a lopsided structure from a bureaucracy that is unable to fully respond to the need for massive preparation against calamities that happen one after another),” Poe said in a statement.
“Ang malaking problema natin ay hindi lamang sa pagtugon ngunit lalong-lalo na sa pag-agap (Our biggest problem lies not in the response efforts but more importantly on the need for prevention),” she said.
“No typhoon is too strong for communities that have been braced for the worst kind of disasters,” she added.
The senator’s version of the bill primarily seeks to rightsize government offices by ensuring that the proposed DDR will absorb other offices with similar mandates that have been fulfilled or are no longer relevant.
The measure aims to create a separate department that will have two separate and distinct entities: The National Disaster and Risk Reduction and Management Council and the department proper. The NDRRMC will retain its policy-making and coordinating functions under the law while the department shall be the Secretariat and executive arm – converting NDRRMC’s plans into specific operational guidelines and programs.
“With the creation of the new department, disaster risk planning will have a voice at the table that will oblige government agencies to take into account the effects of climate change in all their undertakings,” Poe said.