The House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations on Wednesday approved the budget component of the bill that creates the Department of Disaster Resilience.
The panel chair, Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, said the Taal Volcano’s eruption “requires us to act on this measure now.”
But the committee has yet to identify the exact amount of the budget to be allotted for the measure once it gets enacted.
Earlier, the House Committees on Government Reorganization and on Disaster Management, chaired by Reps. Mario Vittorio Mariño of Batangas and Lucy Torres-Gomez of Leyte, respectively, approved the DDR bill that creates a government agency that will carry out policies and programs on disaster risk reduction and rehabilitation.
The bills consolidated by the joint panels were House Bill 4 of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Deputy Speaker and Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte; and House Bill 1151 authored by House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez and Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez.
The two Romualdezes, author of HB 1151, said the bill’s enactment would guarantee “a unity of command, a science-based approach and a full-time focus on natural hazards and disasters.”
“The Philippines is one of the countries often visited by strong typhoons. Around 19 tropical storms enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility in a year and of these, usually six or nine make landfall. Natural disasters of increasing magnitude and frequency, such as typhoon Haiyan, have continued to affect our country, which is now the second most vulnerable in the world to disasters and climate change,” they said in HB 1151.
The House approved version of the DDR bill provides that DRR shall be the primary agency “responsible, accountable, and liable 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.”
Under the DDR bill, the Office of Civil Defense shall be the core organization to which the Climate Change Commission Office, the Health Emergency Management Bureau of the Department of Health, the Disaster Response Assistance and the Disaster Response Management Bureau of the Department of Social Welfare and Development will be integrated.
President Rodrigo Duterte, in his State of the Nation Address last July, called on the Congress to speed up the creation of the DDR, saying that “natural disasters are poverty creators.”