Rep. Torres-Gomez urges Duterte: Certify as urgent proposed creation of Dept. of Disaster Resilience
MANILA, Philippines – Leyte 4th District Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent House Bill 5989, or an act creating the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR), which would take action concerning disaster response, management and preparedness.
Torres-Gomez, who is chairperson of the House Committee on Disaster Resilience, highlighted the importance of having a single agency and a clear system of responsibility for disaster preparedness and response in all levels of the government.
“In 2020, we experienced how disaster incidences ran their own course regardless of the pandemic. The total damages, just from the string of typhoons in the fourth quarter of last year, reached about P40 billion. We need to raise our game in disaster management and build national resilience by establishing a full-fledged department. Otherwise, our country will always be on the losing end in the face of persistent extreme weather occurrences and destructive geologic events,” the lawmaker said.
Torres-Gomez stressed that the proposed creation of the DDR would ensure a more efficient, coordinated, and complete system of disaster management, and thus, mitigate extensive damage to lives and properties.
She also emphasized the importance of an integrated approach to all aspects of disaster management, from building resilience, to response and rehabilitation, as part of a sound post-COVID strategy for the country.
The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading in September last year its version of the measure proposing the creation of the DDR even as the government struggled to deal with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“I am appealing to President Duterte to please certify as urgent the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR). The DDR has been in the list of priority measures for the past two SONAs. Having the DDR in place ensures that whatever economic gains we achieve would not be at risk of slipping back just because of disaster events, especially as we re-establish our economy post-COVID,” Torres-Gomez said.
Torres-Gomez likewise implored members of the Senate to urgently act on the proposal, citing the onset of the wet season anytime soon.
“The rainy season will start soon. Many of our people who live in disaster-prone areas will again spend long days and nights worrying about the safety of their families once the typhoons start coming. Let us all act fast to finish legislative deliberations on the proposal so President Duterte can sign it into law before his term ends,” the lawmaker said.
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