Bill wants ‘emergency go bags’ for all gov’t workers
MANILA, Philippines — In a disaster-prone country like the Philippines, all government workers must be prepared with “emergency go bags” to face any calamity while ensuring that public services are not disrupted during a crisis, according to Cotabato Rep. Ma. Alana Samantha Santos.
Santos has filed House Bill No. 6725, or the proposed Emergency Go Bags Act, for public servants to be “well-equipped not only to survive but to continue providing critical services even during emergencies.”
She has also authored a complementary measure, HB 6730, or the draft Public Service Continuity Act that would require all local and national government offices to craft a continuity plan for the delivery of essential services during emergencies.
What’s in the bag?
In her explanatory note for HB 6725, Santos said: “When a disaster happens, time is of the essence and mere seconds can mean the difference between life and death.”
According to the bill, “all government agencies and instrumentalities, as well as local government units, shall provide and distribute ‘emergency go bags’ to all its employees and personnel regardless of their employment status.”
The emergency go bags should be waterproof and contain drinking water and ready-to-eat food enough for three days; a first-aid kit with face mask; flashlight, candles, match and whistle; power bank; can opener; personal hygiene items; nonprescription medicine; photocopies of IDs and other important documents; and pencil and paper.
Funds for the emergency go bags would be included in the regular appropriation of national government offices, while local governments would make a similar allocation in their respective budget ordinances.
In HB 6730, Santos explained that “in the height of emergencies or disasters, the government is the main institution mandated to protect its jurisdiction. This also implies that the government must continue to exist and deliver its essential functions, particularly front-line agencies, regardless of any disruption that might occur.”
“The public service continuity plan (PSCP) is necessary to avoid the gap in public service delivery to its clientele and continue its internal capacities, lay down necessary recovery requirements and strategies in an agency or institution to continuously function during emergencies, disaster incidents and crises,” she said in the explanatory note.
HB 6730 would require government offices to have PSCPs that undergo an annual review to “ensure that the plan gets assessed for relevance and continual improvement.”
The proposed measure gives the Office of Civil Defense the task of providing technical assistance in the formulation, development, and updating of the PSCPs.
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