Citing the vulnerability of the country to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and typhoons, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Monday, November 11, said that it is time for the establishment of a Department of Disaster Resilience to mitigate the consequences and take a more proactive approach to such calamities.
The proposed measure is currently being tackled in the Senate at the committee level during the Joint Committee Hearing of the National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation; Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation; Ways and Means; and Finance Committees.
“It is high time that we recognize the fact that our country is highly vulnerable to ominous disasters given the frequency of natural calamities, like typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, that hit and affect us every year,” Go said.
“I would like to put on record that only through the realization of the Department of Disaster Resilience can we mitigate the consequences of such calamities, resulting to very few casualties, if not none,” he added.
Concurring with Senator Miguel Zubiri who earlier remarked that the country’s response to natural disasters is simply “reactionary”, Go emphasized the need for a more proactive approach to natural disasters.
“Equally important na proactive tayo bago ang sakuna. Dapat may magtuturo sa mga LGUs kung ano ang dapat gawin sakaling may darating na sakuna. Handa tayo dapat bago pa ito dumating, not only after,” said Go.
Go also emphasized the importance for the public to know what agency is in charge when it comes to dealing with natural disasters. He stressed that under the current structure, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council merely acts as an ad hoc inter agency coordinating body when dealing with disasters.
“For example, pag health, DOH ang in charge. Kapag housing, that is why department of housing was created.
Kapag may Department of Disaster Resilience po, alam ng tao sino lalapitan at sino in charge.
Mas magiging mabilis at maayos ang pagresponde natin para matulungan ang mga kababayan nating apektado ng sakuna,” he said.
The senator cited the recent earthquakes in Mindanao, which led to numerous casualties and economic losses, as a proof of the country’s need for improved preparedness when dealing with such catastrophes.
“In terms of economic impact, it is projected that earthquakes could lead to a temporary rise in poverty and delay in infrastructure projects, on top of the costs and losses incurred by civilians and businesses in the region,” Go said.