Sat. Dec 14th, 2019

Disaster resilience department hurdles House panel

The House Committee on Reorganization on Wednesday passed a measure creating a Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR), which is a legislative priority of the Duterte administration.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, the principal author of the bill, said the panel acted on the measure following a series of earthquake devastations in Mindanao.

Salceda said the DDR shall be the primary government agency responsible for “leading, managing, and organizing national efforts to prevent and reduce disaster risks; prepare for and respond to disasters; and recover, rehabilitate, and build forward better after the destruction.”

Salceda noted that the panel approved a new provision that would allow the DDR to jointly supervise vital government bureaus with its mother departments–the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA), the Geo-Hazard Assessment and Engineering Geology Section of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).

The provision also requires that the DDR and these departments shall establish systems and protocols for sustained sharing of knowledge, data, information technology, facilities and other resources critical to DRR at all times.

The DDR would still have the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) as its core organization, to which will be integrated the Climate Change Commission Office, the Health Emergency Management Bureau of the Department of Health (DOH), the Disaster Response Assistance and the Disaster Response Management Bureau of Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The DDR will lead in the “continuous development of strategic, holistic and systematic approaches to disaster management, including prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery and rehabilitation, and anticipatory adaptation strategies, measures, techniques, and options.”

The new department will also promote accelerated capacity building by local government units with relevant national agencies and other stakeholders for the implementation of disaster and climate change plans, programs, projects, and activities.

It will also be tasked to formulate “comprehensive guidelines on the entry, facilitation, and regulation of international relief goods and personnel.”

A Multi-Stakeholders’ Convergence Unit shall be created to help align disaster resilience efforts of the private sector, civil society organizations, academe, and other stakeholders by assisting, coordinating, or providing them services that strengthen public-private cooperation and coordination for disaster resilience.

A National Disaster Resilience Fund scheme that allows fund inputs from both national and local government bodies shall be adopted.

Under its new fund scheme, only 20 percent of resources can be used for a quick response or stand-by fund, while the remaining 80 percent is for climate change adaptation, disaster risk and vulnerability reduction and mitigation, disaster risk transfer, disaster preparedness, recovery, rehabilitation, and anticipatory adaptation.

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