Poe seeks permanent disaster agency to meet calamities
After a series of powerful earthquakes hit the country, Senator Grace Poe said it was high time for the country to have a permanent disaster mitigation agency.
“Climate change is a reality and is upon us,” Poe said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Given the frequency of these extreme weather situations the Philippines has experienced, for us to just sit here and think that this is not going to happen again would be shortsightedness,” she said.
A separate, full-time, Cabinet-level disaster resilience and emergency management agency will be needed to replace the NDRRMC, Poe said.
This permanent agency will serve as the focal agency for integrated disaster resilience, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and emergency management, she said.
At present, the NDRRMC, or National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, remains an ad hoc council, operating mainly under the structure of its predecessor, the National Disaster Coordinating Council.
As an ad hoc body, the NDRMMC has difficulty getting full-time, professional local and national disaster risk reduction and management personnel with the necessary technical expertise to address pre- and post-disaster needs.
Poe pointed out that a permanent disaster mitigating council can coordinate and implement disaster risk reduction and management programs and projects, as well as manage its manpower and financial resources.
“The independence of the proposed agency is a necessity to enable us to resolve problems that have accumulated throughout the country’s recent catastrophes,” she said.
The senator noted that ‘Typhoon Yolanda,’ which devastated the Visayas in 2013, had brought a new normal to disasters hitting the country.
Recent disasters “all point to the need for a strong and independent regulator and monitoring body that will ensure the accountability of duty-bearers in the performance of disaster risk reduction and management duties,” she added.
The senator also recommended a review of the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act (PDRRMA).
This is to ensure that the law can meet the challenges of protecting the people from the staggering and fatal effects of natural disasters and other calamities.
“Seven years after the implementation of the law, are we safer and better prepared?” Poe asked.
In August last year, Poe filed a Senate resolution No. 100 seeking for the law’s review. CBB
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