Disaster Resilience Department bill’s OK seen before Christmas break
MANILA, Philippines— There is a big chance that a bill proposing the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) would be approved before Congress goes on Christmas break next month.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III raised this possibility on Monday as he underscored its importance amid a series of disasters that recently hit parts of the country.
Sotto, one of the authors of the proposed measure in the Senate, believes that its approval is long over due.
“Ang national disaster, hindi nakakapaghintay (National disasters can’t wait),” he said over DZMM.
Asked about the bill’s chance of getting approved before the Christmas break on December 20, the Senate leader said: “A very big chance, talagang kailangang-kailangan (this is really necessary).
“Malaki ang posibilidad, at malaki rin ang posibilidad na mapirmahan ng Presidente ito (There’s a big possibility, and a big possibility also that this would be signed by the President)”, Sotto said.
Under his Senate Bill No. 245, the DDR would become the primary government institution tasked to ensure “safe, adaptive, and disaster-resilient communities.”
“Unlike the existing institutional arrangement that encompasses the very wide range of both natural and human-induced disasters, the Department shall focus on natural hazards and climate change,” Sotto said in the bill’s explanatory note.
A key feature of this measure is a “clear system of responsibility for disaster preparedness and response classified into four levels – from Levels 1 to 4 or from the municipal/city mayor all the way up to the Secretary of Disaster Resilience.”
“This directly answers the oft-repeated question in times of disaster: Who is in charge?” he said.
“This system of assigning levels of responsibility is aimed at ensuring unity of command and effective collaboration in the country’s disaster resilience efforts,” he pointed out. /gsg
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