Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri on Sunday, Nov. 15, said he is open to proposals that seek to create a Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) that would consolidate and improve all government’s efforts to handle disasters.

zubiri1 - Zubiri says he sees the necessity of creating a Disaster Resilience dep’t
Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri

Zubiri said that, after seeing the devastation wrought about by the typhoons “Rolly” and “Ulysses” in the Bicol Region and in Cagayan, Tuguegarao, and other parts of Metro Manila, he now sees the necessity of creating a separate agency that will provide a proactive and holistic approach to calamities and other natural disasters.

“Maybe panahon na mag debate ngayon kung dapat ba magkaroon ng bagong departamento… (I think it’s high-time we start the debates on whether we should have a new department),” Zubiri said in an interview on DZRH.

“Sa tingin ko, panahon na magkaroon ng DDR kasi dito sa atin kada linggo may dumarating na ang bagyo, may volcanic eruption, may lindol…( I think it’s time we have a DDR because the country is always prone to typhoons, volcanic eruption, earthquakes),” he pointed out.

“Ang problema ‘di tayo handa at nagtuturuan pa ang local at national government (The problem is, we are not ready and both the local and national government are always pointing fingers at each other),” he lamented.

While the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is always ready to help the country respond to such a crisis, Zubiri said the humanitarian organization has limited capabilities to do as such.

“Andyan palagi ang Red Cross—always first, always ready, always there. But ‘di kami (we’re not a) government agency. Ang kakayahan namin ay limitado (Our capabilities are limited),” said Zubiri, vice chairman of the PRC.

“In fairness to the President, hinihingi po niya ito every time may SONA. Hinihingi niya ang DDR. Nakikita ng ating Pangulo ang kakulangan (President Duterte has always been asking for us to pass the measure every time he makes a state of the nation address. He has been asking that we pass the DDR. The President sees the necessity for putting up one),” he pointed out.

Zubiri said the Philippines should look at the creation of a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the US and consider the passage of such a measure creating a DDR.

“Importante na magkaroon ng isang ahensya ng gobyerno na nakatutok sa (It’s important that we have a single agency that will focus on) rescue and rehabilitation,” he stressed.

Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, who earlier filed Senate Bill No. 205, has pressed for the measure’s immediate passage saying the creation of a single agency dedicated to rescue, rehabilitation efforts is a must to strengthen the government’s response to the worsening effects of climate change.

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