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Leyte solon presses approval of new disaster, climate agency

WITH NEW STORM ORDEAL

 

A lawmaker from Leyte yesterday pressed for the approval of a new government agency that would specifically focus on disaster response.
Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez, a former mayor of Tacloban City, renewed her call amid another typhoon that inundated her city.
Romualdez said the new disaster agency has become necessary for the country which is in a “typhoon belt.”
The country is also part of the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire – a vast Pacific Ocean region where many of Earth’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.
In her House Bill 344, Romualdez said it seeks to create the Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management or DDPEM to be headed by secretary of the Department of National Defense (DND).
Romualdez said that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is not enough to address the various concerns during calamities.
“Guaranteeing disaster resiliency through greater coordination and stronger management synchronization at all levels of the country’s disaster risk reduction and management system cannot be delayed any further. With the lives, safety and the welfare of our people at stake, the passage of this bill is earnestly sought,” Romualdez said.
The Leyte lawmaker explained the Philippines cannot continue to have a disaster organization that only has coordinative functions given the country’s too much exposure to disasters.
Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte, a vice chairman of the House committee on appropriations, for his part has called for the establishment of another agency that would focus on climate change.
Responding to a call by the United Nations (UN) to institute long-term measures to reduce risks from natural disasters, Villafuerte said that governments should provide a strong impetus to unify efforts in addressing these economic disruptions.
Villafuerte said this can be done by way of creating the Department of Climate Change (DCC) and subsuming the functions of all other existing offices under this would-be central agency.
He said creating the DCC would entail the abolition of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the Climate Change Commission, along with other agencies performing disaster risk reduction and management-related functions, so that these could all be integrated under the new Department.
Moreover, he recalled that a recent study showed that much of the population of Southeast Asia, where the Philippines is situated, live along 81,000 miles of low-lying coastlines, further heightening the region’s vulnerability to extreme weather events. Part of this is Leyte.
Statistics show that 62 percent of Filipinos live in 1,490 coastal municipalities, with 50 percent or half of them vulnerable to storms and typhoons, and over 13 million people at risk of losing homes because of rising sea levels.
“We need a Department of Climate Change not next year nor tomorrow, but now. Our country may be one of Asia’s fastest growing economies, but this rapid growth rate can only be sustained if our country and our people are prepared to meet the challenges brought about by climate change and learn to adapt and respond quickly to its destructive effects on various facets of our lives,” Villafuerte said.

1 comment

  • told-you-so55

    I have a better idea than creating another bureaucratic abyss to spend more taxpayer money on. Why don't you congressmen stop building sub-standard public infrastructure, and make sure all the budget goes to built typhoon, flood and earthquake proof public infrastructure in the land surveyed safe zones.

    told-you-so55 Monday, 18 December 2017 11:11 Comment Link

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