THE Executive Director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Undersecretary Eduardo del Rosario, on Friday said that he is supportive of any move elevating to a higher level the government’s quick emergency response mechanism in times of disasters and natural calamities.
Del Rosario was reacting to a proposed Senate bill authored by Sen. Antonio Trillanes seeking the creation of a new Emergency Management Agency (EMA) that would replace the NDRRMC.
“The proposal of Sen. Trillanes is a welcome development,” del Rosario said. “This is one way of exploring the best structure needed in addressing the disaster management concerns of our country.”
Under Senate Bill 819, the EMA would be directly under the Office of the President so that it would be provided with sufficient funds and full authority to implement the necessary policies.
Trillanes said in a hearing by the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, that there were a lot of loopholes in Republic Act 10121, the law that created the NDRRMC, thus it needs to be amended.
NDRRMC is currently under the Department of National Defense with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin as chair.
Trillanes pointed out that as defense secretary, Gazmin has a lot other things to do and only shifts attention to the NDRRMC during times of calamity.
Under the present set-up the NDRRMC also relies on the defense department for funding, which, Trillanes stressed, was not enough.
RA 10121 became a law in May 2010. It provides a P1-billion revolving fund to the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), an agency under the NDRRMC, for use in calamity- hit areas.
However, the government has failed to implement said provision of the law.
Under the law, the OCD is the agency in charge of planning and for and dealing with disasters anywhere in the country, with the NDRRMC, and its counterparts in the local levels, as consultative bodies to ensure the coordination of efforts of the various government agencies.
The proposed EMA bill if enacted into law, Trillanes explained, would result in a much efficient and effective disaster management during times of emergency situations, including man-made disasters.
He added that the EMA would also be tasked for the creation of policies that would reduce the risk and dangers brought about by calamities, prevent the lost of lives and properties.
The proposed agency would also be in charge of implementing speedy rehabilitation of calamity-affected areas and draw up a national comprehensive emergency and disaster preparedness plan.