House OKs creation of Department of Disaster Resilience on 2nd reading
The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on second reading a bill creating the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) which President Rodrigo Duterte had pushed.
The lower chamber approved House Bill No. 8165 via viva voce or voice voting.
The bill will be up for third and final reading approval after three session days.
Leyte 1st District Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez, one of the principal authors of the bill, has welcomed the development, saying this would effectively reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and bolster their resilience to the impact of national disasters and climate change.
“We can now look forward to the future with hope, knowing that the government is ready, better equipped and committed to exert its best effort to reduce the risks that come with natural disasters, to empower local communities to rise above the different vulnerabilities that surround them and to ensure that in the years to come, such a tragedy will never happen again,” she said in a statement.
Romualdez’s district was among the areas heavily affected by the onslaught of super typhoon “Yolanda” on Nov. 8, 2013.
The bill specifies that the DDR would be the primary agency “responsible for leading, organizing, and managing the national effort to reduce disaster risk, prepare for and respond to disasters, recover and rehabilitate, and build forward better after the occurrence of disasters.”
The Secretary of the DRR would also lead the National Disaster Resilience Council, which would be composed of other secretaries from various key agencies such as the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Health, and the Department of Environment and National Resources, among others.
Within one year from the approval of the Act, the DRR is also mandated to create the Climate and Disaster Research, Education and Training Institute, in collaboration with higher educational institutions and private and state universities and colleges, which would serve as a “world-class center of excellence for learning and research in the field of disaster risk and vulnerability reduction and management and climate change adaptation.”
The Department would also have the power to declare a state of calamity in specific areas.
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology will be attached agencies to the DRR, once the bill is enacted to law.
The funding for the Department would be included in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo earlier pushed for the creation of the department.
During Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address last July 23, he urged Congress to pass a bill creating a Department of Disaster Management to “bolster our resilience to the impact of natural disasters and climate change.” /ee
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.