More powerful disaster management agency proposed
MANILA, Philippines — Proposals to create a more powerful body to replace the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) are gaining support in the Senate.
The new body is envisioned to directly mobilize all government resources in times of disaster.
“I want a permanent national relief and disaster agency,” Senate President Franklin Drilon said in a phone interview on Sunday, calling the NDRRMC a “mere coordinating body.”
But Drilon was quick to add that the new body should not be as large as a department, lest it “unduly” expand the bureaucracy.
Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Sunday he would file a bill creating a body that would “coordinate” all the different agencies for rehabilitation and reconstruction.
“The system should be studied to speed up response,” he said in a radio interview.
Marcos had flown to Leyte, the devastated province of his mother, former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos, and seen for himself the slow delivery of foreign aid to affected areas.
Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano has filed Senate Bill 1940, pushing for the creation of an Emergency Response Department (ERD) to replace the NDRRMC.
Cayetano said the recent tragedy showed the country’s model in disaster risk reduction “needs to adapt to our culture and existing circumstances.”
He said the NDRRMC law lacked a mechanism to respond to a considerable breakdown of authority arising from a humanitarian emergency.
Such a situation would require a response that went beyond the “mandate and capacity” of a local government unit, Cayetano said.
“Otherwise, there would be a paralysis in the disaster response system and people affected by the disaster would not be able to receive critical life-saving interventions and relief,” he added.
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