Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday said he will continue to push for the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) so that the government can be more organized in its response to calamities.
“I share the view po ng iba na government should be more organized at hindi tayo dapat parating nag-iisip kung anong dapat gawin (we should not be forever caught unprepared and thinking of what to do),” Cayetano said in a Facebook livestream on December 29, 2021.
Cayetano was one of the principal authors of House Bill 5989 and led its approval as Speaker in September, 2020. The Senate version of the measure, however, remains pending up to now.
Under HB 5989, the DDR will be the primary government agency responsible for leading, organizing, and managing the national effort to reduce disaster risk, prepare for and respond to disasters, recover and rehabilitate, and build forward better after the occurrence of disasters.
It would also oversee and coordinate the preparation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of disaster and climate resilience plans, programs, projects, and activities, among others.
“If we are persistent, push on talaga tayo nang push on na gawin ito, desidido po tayo na tulungan ang ating mga kababayan. Kung ano ang ating itatanim, aanihin din natin yan,” Cayetano said.
(If we are persistent and push to continue this, we are determined to help our countrymen. What we sow, we will reap.)
Cayetano made the statement in the wake of typhoon Odette’s trail of destruction from December 16 to 18, which left P585.8 million in damage to infrastructure and P6 billion in damage to agriculture.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said on December 27 that the death toll from the typhoon has risen to 389.
The national government on December 21 pledged to provide P10 billion in recovery and rehabilitation efforts to affected areas, according to President Rodrigo Duterte.
Cayetano said climate change has made it imperative for the government to create a single agency that would tackle disaster preparation, response, and rehabilitation.
“Alam naman natin na y’ung climate change nandyan (We already know that climate change is here)…we should really have basic protocols to be able to deliver,” he added.
“Isa dyan ay ang pagkakaroon ng satellite phones ang iba’t ibang lugar, para y’ung communication ay mabilis,” he said.
(One way to ensure constant communication despite calamities is to provide satellite phones in various areas.)