Karding’s onslaught highlights urgent need for disaster agency — Salceda
MANILA, Philippines — Super Typhoon Karding’s onslaught in parts of Southern Luzon and Central Luzon makes a case for a separate agency dedicated to disasters, Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda said.
Salceda said in a statement that under the existing system, disaster response is handled largely by regional branches of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC).
However, he emphasized that local government entities and rescuers themselves could be impacted by disasters on occasion, underlining the need for a response from an organization like the planned Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).
“One of the effects of climate change is that the storms are growing stronger. The Philippines will bear the brunt of such extreme events in the Pacific. Karding will not be the last super typhoon, and it might not even be the last just this year,” Salceda said on Sunday, just before it made landfall.
“The Eastern Seaboard, which tends to get hit by extreme weather events, also tends to have poorer provinces. Relying on local resources or mere coordination by the national government, will not be enough. The local resources are simply not enough. And in extreme events such as super typhoons, the local responders are also victims, and their institutions are also disrupted,” Salceda added.
From being forecast to hit Cagayan Valley on Sunday night, Karding’s track shifted southwards, hitting Quezon province instead. It made landfall in Burdeos municipality on the Polillo islands at around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.
READ: Polillo Island braces for Karding, readies evacuation centers
Initial reports showed strong winds and torrential rains hitting the said island before Karding moved towards Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Pampanga, and then towards the western side of Luzon.
READ: Luzon, Metro Manila bear brunt of Karding’s impact
Salceda asked how Polillo Islands can respond to a calamity of this magnitude when several of the towns within it are considered third or fourth-class municipalities — again stressing the need for a disaster agency.
“How can Polillo Islands, for example, respond to the typhoons that almost always strike them when all three municipalities in the area are 3rd or 4th class municipalities? The internal resources and capacity simply do not exist, no matter how well governed these areas are,” Salceda explained.
“So, you need a reserve of exogenous resources for response, as well as continuing capacity development. You need an implementing agency for that. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is not an implementing agency,” he added.
The current administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has expressed support for the crafting of an agency dedicated to addressing disasters. However, there are still discussions about whether the new agency should be an entire department or an attached agency only to save funds.
During the aftermath of the Northwestern Luzon earthquake, Marcos agreed with proposals from his sister, Senator Imee Marcos, that there was no need to create another department to address disaster issues.
READ: Bongbong Marcos says new gov’t body, not department, is enough for disasters
However, several lawmakers have called on the Senate and the House of Representatives to quickly create a bill forming the DDR, considering the country’s geographical position as being inside the Pacific Ring of Fire and as a frequent landing area for strong typhoons.
The House last September 2020 — during the 18th Congress — approved on the third and final reading House Bill No. 5989 or the Disaster Resilience Act. However, the said bill was not passed by both chambers of Congress due to time constraints.
READ: Proposed Dep’t of Disaster Resilience unlikely to be passed by 18th Congress — Sotto
With reports from Trisha Manalaysay, trainee
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