Poe urges passage of bill that will create disaster department
MANILA, Philippines — In the wake of Tropical Depression “Usman” and the low pressure area that wreaked havoc on the country in the past week, Senator Grace Poe on Thursday called for the urgent passage of the bill that would create the Department of Disaster Resilience and Emergency Management (DDREM).
Poe made the statement after observing a lack of coordination between the national government and local government units (LGUs) during the onslaught of the weather disturbance.
“Parang kulang pa rin ang coordination ng national government at ng local government units, kasi wala naman talagang point person sa NDRRMC,” Poe said in a radio interview.
Poe said there must be enhanced coordination between the national government and local government units to effectively respond to the needs of communities before and after calamities.
“Dapat may point person at saka kung sino ‘yung responsable; hindi ‘yung pasahan na ‘hindi, DSWD ‘yan, ay hindi DPWH ‘yan.’ May plano talaga dapat,” the senator said.
DSWD is Department of Social Welfare and Development while DPWH is Department of Public Works and Highways.
Poe earlier filed Senate Bill 1735 seeking a new agency that would have the authority in policy-making, planning, coordination, implementation, and evaluation of programs in relation to disaster risk reduction and management.
“Matagal na din (itong) napag-uusapan… maraming naging prayoridad na mga batas. Ang malungkot dito, parang naaalala lang natin ito tuwing nagkakaroon ng sakunang ganito,” she said.
The senator said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) was virtually powerless, noting that the body is technically under the Department of National Defense (DND) and is not headed by any official with a Cabinet rank.
“Kailangang magkaroon ng kapangyarihan ang ganitong departamento,” Poe added.
Under the bill, the NDRRMC would be transferred from the DND to the proposed DDREM.
The proposed department will serve as the secretariat and executive arm. It will convert the NDRRMC’s plan into “specific operational guidelines and programs.” It shall also have regional offices.
The DDREM will also have bureaus on disaster resilience, disaster preparation and response, and knowledge management and dissemination.
Poe said she hoped the Senate would act fast to pass the bill which is still being deliberated on by the committee on national defense and security. /cbb
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