Lacson wants disaster resilience office under OP
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday said the Office of the President (OP) should open an office that would manage disaster resilience and crisis management instead of creating a separate department for government’s response for calamities.
Lacson, chairman of the Senate committee on national defense and security, led a hearing on the proposed measure to create a disaster response department in Nov. 11 last year. The proposal to create an agency on disaster response was pushed following the displacement of residents in Cavite and Batangas after Taal Volcano’s unrest.
“I think a permanent office that is under the OP, not necessarily a department, kasi masyado na ring bloated ang bureaucracy (so as not to further bloat the bureaucracy),” Lacson told reporters Tuesday.
But for Lacson, establishing new departments might create lapses in “policy decisions” despite the proposal to fix government’s rightsizing.
“While meron tayong rightsizing, create tayo ng create ng department. Hindi naka-synchronize doon sa mga policy decisions, (While we have rightsizing, we always create a new department. Then that would not synchronize the policy decisions)… I think an office under the OP should do the job,” the senator said.
Lacson was reacting to the proposal of Sen. Grace Poe for the creation of a new department that will focus on disaster resilience and emergency management.
In his proposal, Lacson said the agency will “mobilize personnel from Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Public Works and Highways” to address reconstruction and rehabilitation during calamities.
The senator also noted that a “dedicated office” under the presidential office should be put up to improve response to disasters, citing lapses in response when Supertyphoon Yolanda struck the country in 2013, five-month siege in Marawi in 2017 and recent earthquakes in Mindanao.
“Even sa Yolanda, hanggang ngayon during the time of President (Noynoy) Aquino, he approved a total budget of P167-billion, ilan pa ang naitutulong doon (How many more victims received the financial assistance)? And nagkaroon ng Marawi and nagkaroon ng earthquake, and now Taal (The Marawi siege happened, earthquakes happened, and now Taal’s unrest),” the senator said.
“Maraming gustong tumulong right after the disaster struck, but after a while nakakalimutan. Dapat may dedicated na office, hindi pupuwede na it is being run by a council composed of department heads who have their own issues and concerns sa kanilang departments (We should have a dedicated office but it should not be run by a council composed of department heads who have their own issues and concerns with their respective departments),” he added.
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