"We need the Department of Disaster Resilience now. "
The Philippines is a disaster-prone country. That is a fact. Many calamities visit us every year, causing destruction of property, displacement, loss of livelihood, and death.
Who can forget typhoons like Yolanda? It is still fresh in our minds.
All these disasters have prompted President Duterte and Congress to come up with the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience. This body will be devoted to the rescue, relief and rehabilitation of victims of disasters.
Yes, we have the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, an ad hoc body under the Department of National Defense. It also has regional, city and municipal bodies. But we cannot be dependent on such an agency given the frequency with which disasters occur here.
We need a permanent department to pinpoint areas frequently visited by calamities. We need a body to craft a strategy on what can and should be done.
Unfortunately during the 17th Congress, the DRR bill passed at the House of Representatives but not the Senate. Apparently senators lacked the time to act on the matter.
In the wake of typhoons Quinta and Rolly, we are once again reminded how crucial and urgent the need for this department is. The country can no longer procrastinate in the wake of the many disasters that we have to face.
I have been asked: Why would Chinese from the mainland want to retire in the Philippines at age 35?
This comes to mind after the disturbing revelation of the Philippine Retirement Authority that thousands of Chinese, mostly aged 35, have arrived in the county to take advantage of the perks offered by the Duterte government. This is supposedly to boost tourism and investment.
These retirees are allowed indefinite stay and multiple entry/ exit visas. I wonder – why would they want to come here when their own country has the second-largest economy in the world? And isn’t 35 too young to retire? Is this a prelude to the so-called Chinese invasion of the Philippines?
The PRA, which is under the Department of Tourism, should look closely into this issue. This could raise matters of national security.
I am reminded of the time when so many Japanese came to the Philippines as vendors, retailers and even construction workers. This was before World War II broke out. And then, those workers turned out to be members of the Japanese secret police!
Santa Banana, statistics have shown that some 4 million Chinese have already entered our country as tourists but actually work in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations. Four million is equivalent to the population of Quezon City! I am alarmed, indeed!
The Tourism Department now claims it is benchmarking the problem, finding out the ages of these foreigners and how much they are likely to invest. But this only exposes the incompetence of our agencies — aren’t they supposed to know these things beforehand?
The credibility of the justice system has become a crucial test in the case of Senator Leila de Lima, who has been detained since February 2017 after allegedly benefitting from the illegal drug trade when she was Secretary of Justice.
Prosecution witnesses from the Anti-Money Laundering Council and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency failed to show proof that De Lima had dealings with the convicted drug lords at the New Bilibid Prison. Former CIDG chief Benjamin Magalong, who is now mayor of Baguio City, also said he did not find evidence supporting de Lima’s guilt.
Still, in the wake of all this, the judge hearing De Lima’s case in Muntinlupa has not acted on the senator’s appeal for bail. Bail is normally granted when the case against an individual is weak. As a lawyer, I know that it is within the power of the judge to grant bail when the evidence is lacking.
De Lima must be released.