Taguig City 2nd District Representative Lani Cayetano urged the Senate to pass the bill creating a Department of Disaster Resilience which she said would allow a “holistic disaster management approach.”
“‘Pag pinagsararo (pinagsama) na po ang mga ahensiya na iyan, syempre mas mapapadali ang pag responde natin. Hindi lang doon sa relief kundi pati doon sa recovery at y’ung rebuilding,” Cayetano said in an interview with iFM News Naga on August 18.
(When we integrate those government agencies, of course our response [to disasters] would be more easy. Not only in terms of relief, but also in recovery and in rebuilding.)
“Mas mahihigit pa ang pagtulong na agad-agad sa mga naapektuhan ng mga kalamidad kasi hindi na paisa-isang mga ahensiya, inaaral na ng kabuuan. Holistic ang ating approach para kapag binaba natin ang ating tulong, hindi lang tayo hanggang sa relief,” she added.
(We would increase our ability to immediately help those affected by calamities because [disaster response] is not dependent on different agencies. It would be taken from a singular viewpoint. Our approach is holistic so that when we extend our help, we won’t simply stop at giving aid.)
In his last State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte named the Department of Disaster Resilience Act of 2019 as one of the priority bills Congress should pass before the end of his administration.
The bill was passed on third and final reading in the House of Representatives in September last year but has not moved forward in the Senate due to funding problems, according to Senate defense committee chair Senator Panfilo Lacson.
Cayetano, who has roots in Bicol, said the creation of the department is important given the 2018 World Risk Report which said the Philippines is the third most disaster-prone country in the world.
She said the Bicol Region, in particular, is hit not just by typhoons but also by volcanic eruptions, landslides, and other disasters.
“Ang Kabikulan, lalo naman din, hindi lang naman po mga bagyo ang dumadaan sa atin, mga volcanic eruptions, landslides, gabos talaga ang kalamidad na nag-aagi talaga sa Kabikulan,” she added.
(The Bicol region, most especially, is affected not just by typhoons but also by volcanic eruptions, landslides, and all sorts of calamities.)