Pass DDR bill now, Senate urged

Tingog party-list Rep Yedda Marie K. Romualdez and House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez on Tuesday appealed to Senate leadership to expedite the approval of the proposed Department Disaster Resilience.

The Romualdezes, the principal authors of House Bill 5989, issued the call after the House of Representatives, voted 241-7 to pass  the Disaster Resilience Act on third and final reading in its plenary session Monday.

“We appeal to the Senate to expedite the passage of this measure that would institutionalize the cohesive, and comprehensive framework for disaster preparedness, prevention and mitigation, and response in our country,” the Romualdez couple said.

“We look forward to collaborating with them on this crucial piece of legislation for the welfare and safety of Filipinos,” Romualdez added.

“We are confident that the Senate is one with our goal to pass this bill into law this year.”

Several bills on DDR are still pending before the Senate Committees on National Defense and Security and Peace, Unification andReconciliation.

The Romualdezes also thanked the House leadership for its unwavering commitment to pass the Duterte administration’s priority bills as spelled-out in the President’s State of the Nation Address.

“We thank Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Deputy Speakers, chairmen and our dedicated colleagues for passing this priority legislation of

President Rodrigo Duterte. We are a step closer to truly protecting the lives of our citizens in times of disasters not just in a reactionary way, but in a proactive, long-term, and sustainable approach,” the Romualdezes said.

Article II, Section 4 of HB 5989 seeks to create the DDR as 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. Its mandate covers all natural hazards.

Under the bill, the DDR may undertake and implement certain emergency measures in anticipation of, during, and in the aftermath of disasters to protect and preserve life and property and ensure and promote public safety and welfare.

Among these emergency measures are carrying out of preemptive and forced evacuation; imposition of curfew; and temporary takeover of any private utility or business, subject to payment of just compensation when there is imminent danger of loss of lives or damage to property.

The proposed law also establishes the National Disaster Operations Center, Alternative Command Centers, and Disaster Resilience Research and Training Institute.

The NDOC is a physical center equipped with the necessary tools and systems to monitor, manage, and respond to disasters in all areas of the country, while the ACCs are command centers that would supplemental support to the NDOC.

The DRRTI, meanwhile, is a platform for providing training preferably on site, and for collecting, consolidating, managing, analyzing, and sharing knowledge and information to improve or enhance disaster resilience.

The bill also retains Local DRRM Offices in provinces, cities, and municipalities and renames them as Provincial, City, and Municipality Disaster Resilience Offices, respectively.

The Department shall be given powers to recommend to the President the declaration of a state of calamity, whether in whole or part of an area, in case of an extraordinary disaster wherein the repercussions on public safety and welfare are serious and far-reaching.

This bill also renames the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund created under Republic Act 10121 as the National Disaster Resilience Fund to be managed and controlled by the DDR.

HB 5989 also gives the President powers to impose administrative sanctions against local chief executives and barangay officials for willful or negligent acts performed in the implementation of, or compliance with, this Act and its IRR.

Special courts on disaster resilience matters will also be established once the bill is enacted into law.

The House, in the previous 17th Congress, also passed the same measure on third and final reading.

Topics: Yedda Marie K. Romualdez , Martin Romualdez , COVID-19 , Department Disaster Resilience , National Disaster Operations Center , Alternative Command Centers
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