THE House of Representatives (HOR) has approved on third reading a bill mandating the setting up of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR), which is expected to improve the government’s capacity for disaster-risk reduction and management.
There were 181 congressmen who voted in favor of House Bill 8165, or the bill, titled “Creating the Department of Disaster Resilience, Defining Its Powers and Functions.” Only five congressmen voted against the bill and two abstained.
“I appeal to the Senate leadership to also fast-track the passage of the DDR bill as this would help drastically reduce, if not totally eliminate, the bureaucratic red tape that has caused many delays in the delivery of immediate assistance needed by disaster and calamity victims,” Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez said in a statement.
Romualdez said the DDR is dedicated to concerns on disaster mitigation and quick response which will help ensure fast procurement process and swift delivery of assistance in areas hit by calamities.
The DDR aims to promote better coordination among national and local government agencies and will focus on measures that will help communities cope with the ill-effects of various natural disasters.
Romualdez also said the DDR will focus on disasters through a science- and ICT-based approach and take charge of disaster-risk reduction; disaster preparedness and response; and recovery and rehabilitation.
“The DDR will effectively improve the institutional capacity of the government for disaster-risk reduction and management, reduce the vulnerabilities surrounding the affected local population, as well as build the resilience of local communities to calamities,” she said.
In June PIDS Senior Research Fellow Sonny N. Domingo said there is a need to create a separate department to handle Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) efforts.
Domingo said creating a separate department is the “best solution” to the country’s DRRM challenges. These challenges include governance and not only fiscal challenges.
The creation of a new department can streamline DRRM funds and help local government units (LGUs) make appropriate decisions in terms of where and how much to spend on their DRRM needs.
He added that the government also needs to properly augment processes and resources. The LGUs can use the Comprehensive Land Usage Plans and Comprehensive Development Plans for the local landscape.
There has been an increase in the acquired funds for disaster management, and while most are for the National Treasury, quick response funds are being directly downloaded to institutions involving disaster-risk management.
But despite the upward trend in fund allocation for disaster-risk reduction and management during the past seven years, some municipalities continue to get the short end of the stick.