Now is the Time to Have a Responsive Department of Disaster Resilience or DDR
WITH the impending threats of natural disasters and climate change like cyclones, El Niño, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions, now is the time to have a responsive Department of Disaster Resilience or DDR.
Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, one of the authors of the House Bill 8165, expressed gratitude to Congress for expediting the passage of the measure for second reading
Vargas also thanked the leadership of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for advocating and seriously prioritizing the creation of DDR.
“The DDR is envisioned to be an empowered, receptive, and responsive government agency with a clear vision of addressing the needs of the Filipinos in times of calamities,”
At least three proposed measures of Vargas were incorporated in the House Bill 8165 and these are House Bill 1379 or An Act Including Responsive Empowered and Service-Centered Youth in the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council; House Bill 5593 or An Act mandating the conduct of fire, earthquake and other hazardous phenomena drills in educational establishments, school buses, private offices and healthcare institutions and House Bill House Bill 1812 or An Act Providing for the Construction of a Multi-purpose Gym in all Municipalities and Cities to Serve as Evacuation Centers During Times of Calamity or Disaster.
The DDR, Vargas said, is mandated to oversee and coordinate the preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of disaster and climate resilience plans, programs, projects and activities.
It is also expected to design and implement an incentive system for greater private and public investment, both local and national, in disaster risk reduction.
“While we believe and salute the toughness or resilience of the Filipinos during difficult times, it is still best to always be prepared. Positive outcomes must be observed despite risk or adversity,” Vargas said.
For his contribution to the measure, Vargas proposed the inclusion of the Chairperson of the National Youth Commission (NYC) as a member of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) or in the DDR.
Vargas, aside from recognizing the youth’s role in disaster and risk management, they should also be empowered with the information and skills to help affected communities in times of crisis.
The solon underscored the role of different youth groups that contributed in the rescue and relief operations of the government in times of calamities.
His House Bill 1812 on the other hand proposed the construction of a multi-purpose gym in every local government in the Philippines and this structure will permanently serve as evacuation centers in times of calamities.
He said while it became a common practice in the country to use public schools as evacuation centers during calamities, armed conflicts and emergencies, schools are not ideal venues for such purpose because they lack the necessary amenities to accommodate evacuees.
Furthermore, the solon pointed out that using school as evacuation centers brings about another concern; the disruption of the students’ academic activities.
Under this proposal, the DPWH is mandated to prioritize the construction of a multi-purpose gym in third and sixth class municipalities, especially those located in disaster-prone areas.
Earlier, the PAGASA warned Filipinos of four to five more tropical cyclones, possibly as powerful as Typhoon Ompong, that may enter the country in the last quarter of 2018.
On earthquake, the Philvocs is still on the look out for the possible Big One or a strong 7 to 8 magnitude quake that may affect big parts of Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
“All of these are natural calamities that may occur in unexpected dates, what Filipinos can do is prepare, pray and be resilient,” Vargas said.
The House Bill 5593 seeks to conduct regular fire, earthquake and other phenomena drills in schools, school buses, private workplaces and healthcare institution which purpose is to strengthen the Filipino’s resiliency to disasters.
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