Proposed Disaster Resilience dep’t awaits House plenary deliberation

National, News

Despite certain concerns related to the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR), the upcoming House plenary is expected to deliberate on the priority bill, HB 6075, proposing its creation when the chamber convenes shortly. President Duterte asked legislators to create the DDR immediately in his recent 2018 State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The House committees on Government Reorganization, and Defense and Security have already approved the reconsolidated bill while the committee on Appropriations has assigned the proposed agency a P21-billion initial budget, double the P10 billion originally suggested by Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda in his original HB 6075.

Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo promptly mobilized the three committees to work on the measure after assuming the House leadership. Department of National Defense Secretary Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who also chairs the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has pledged strong and full support for the DDR creation.

In a recent statement, Lorenzana thanked Speaker Arroyo and the chairmen of the three House committees for their expeditious action on the measure, and Salceda who headed the technical working groups which consolidated 34 other related proposals into his bill.

Lorenzana believes the DDR creation will be be another monumental step in the government’s efforts to build safer and more adaptive and resilient Filipino communities. “with calamity destructions mitigated,” added Salceda, a noted economist and the House focal person on economic policy concerns under Arroyo’s leadership, “the DDR will also help further push the country’s drive towards inclusive growth.”

Salceda said President Duterte’s urgent and repeated calls in his 2017 and 2018 SONAs for an effective disaster management agency to address the impacts of calamities have helped push the DDR bill in Congress. His bill seeks to amend RA 10121 which created the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) chaired by the Secretary of Defense which coordinates various agencies in disaster response.

Both Salceda said Lorenzana agree that the DDR as conceptualized, fulfils President Duterte’s directive for a “truly empowered department characterized by unity of command, science-based approach and full-time focus on natural hazards and disasters . . . with a ‘Whole-of-Government and Whole-of-Nation’ approach to disaster risk reduction; preparedness and response; with better recovery and faster rehabilitation.”

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