Congress approves HB 6705 to create Department of Disaster Resilience

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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (August 1) – Camiguin Island province representative Xavier Jesus Romualdo said that after a marathon deliberation, Congress has already approved House Bill 6075 that will create the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).

Romualdo who chaired the Committee on Government Reorganization said that HB 6075 was filed by Albay Congressman Joey Saceda of Albay and was pushed by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, just a day after Arroyo took the helm of congress.

President Rodrigo Duterte during his 3rd State of the Nation Address asked Congress to expedite the approval of the law.

Under the law, the Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Administration (Pagasa), the Philippine Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) will be moved into the DDR.

The BFP is currently under the Department of Interior and Local Government, while Pagasa and Phivolcs is under the Department of Science and Technology.  The Philippine Coast Guard is also one of the agencies that will also be moved into DDR.

University of the Philippines’ National Operational Assessment of Hazard is also eyed to be moved to DDR as Project NOAh possesses data on disaster management while the mapping office Mines and Geosciences Bureau of Department of Environment and Natural Resources will also be moved to DDR to provide data on geohazard mapping.

“HB 6075 is far from perfect right now and will be put into plenary session to refine it, but it is already approved,” Romualdo said.

Romualdo added that senate has its own version while Malacanang also formulated its own version. These versions will be deliberated during the bicameral session.

“One of the main response functions of DDR is that disaster relief response and distribution will no longer be under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD),” Romualdo said.

“This is to centralized relief distribution, but DSWD will still provide support on information,” Romualdo said.  Disaster Resiliency will also be included in basic education curriculum, making every citizens aware of climate and disaster vulnerability.

The  2015 World Risk Report Index, showed the Philippines was in the top three of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world.  The Climate Change Vulnerability Index also ranked the Philippines 13th.

The DDR will harmonize national policies in making communities, infrastructure and individuals.  “We will fine tune the law that will create DDR today and we will await its counterpart bill in senate,” Romualdo said.  –Lance Baconguis/ NewsLine.ph

 

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