Imee Marcos says Abra earthquake shows need for new gov’t body for disasters
MANILA, Philippines — After a magnitude 7 earthquake struck Luzon, Senator Imee Marcos on Wednesday, underscored the need for creating a government body that will respond to emergencies caused by disasters.
Marcos likened the proposal to the US government’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is tasked with coordinating the response to a disaster that has occurred and overwhelmed the resources of local and state authorities.
She added that its creation is all the more necessary since the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) does not have enough budget to fulfill this responsibility as a coordinating body.
“Matagal na namin sinasabi na ang NDRRMC, kinakailangan hindi lang coordinating body kasi halos ang konti lang ng budget niya,” said Marcos in an interview with reporters.
(We have been saying for a long time that the NDRRMC cannot just be a coordinating body because it has only a small budget.)
“Nailagay pa halos lahat sa Marawi rehab kaya hindi makakilos ang NDRRMC, kung tutuusin namamalimos lang siya sa iba’t ibang dept sa quick response fund ng DA (Department of Agriculture), DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) so we wanted them to have more teeth,” she added.
(Almost every part of its budget has been placed in Marawi rehab so the NDRRMC cannot act, in fact it is just begging from different departments in the quick response fund of the DA, DSWD, so we wanted them to have more teeth.)
However, Marcos clarified that in line with the rightsizing mandate, she is not in favor of immediately making it a department.
“Ayaw ko naman agad agad gawing department kasi mauubos lang sa sahod ng usec (undersecretary) at (asec) assistant secretary, subukan muna natin na isang authority o di kaya admin o kaya council, basta something na mas maliit na hindi kailangan ng full blown department,” said Marcos.
(I don’t want to turn it into a department right away because the salaries of the undersecretary and assistant secretary will only use it up, let’s first try to make it an authority or maybe an admin or a council, as long as it’s something smaller that doesn’t need a full-blown department.)
“Isang (an) authority directly under the President with its own powers and functions, some budget and more teeth,” she added.
She made the call after a magnitude 7 earthquake shook Luzon on Wednesday morning.
Marcos said multiple heritage sites were damaged by the earthquake, including the Bantay Church Bell Tower in Bantay, Ilocos Sur; the Sinking Bell Tower in Laoag City; and the Sarrat Church in Ilocos Norte.