LEGAZPI CITY: First District of Leyte Rep. Martin Ro-mualdez, who is visiting this city to help distribute relief assistance to families left homeless by typhoon Nona, said President Benigno Aquino 3rd should learn to be humble and let go of his pride as leadership, especially in cases of disaster management and response measures, requires maturity, not egocentricity.
“There should be no pride and he (President Aquino) should learn humility and admit his mistake. He should accept the fact that more than 10,000 people were killed in Leyte when Supertyphoon Yolanda battered Visayas. He should stop pretending [that everything is]spick and span,” Romualdez said when asked what he had learned from his district’s Yolanda experience.
Romualdez was in Legazpi City on Thursday to give relief assistance to 3,500 families left homeless by typhoon Nona in six coastal villages of this city, in partnership with businessman Elizaldy S. Co of Sunwest Group of Companies and Ako Bicol Partylist Rep. Christopher Co.
Romualdez is questioning the policy of the government on disaster management, which, he said, does not ensure accountability for the distribution of relief goods and money intended for typhoon victims, especially in the Visayas region.
The lawmaker said the Philippines is in need of a disaster emergency management department that will be accountable for the cash-flow, specifically that involving donations by non-governmental and international organizations, to ensure transparency.
He is pushing for a separate department of disaster emergency management through House Bill 3486, which calls for the creation of the DDPEM to replace NDRRMC as an accountable body that will be permanent, independent, and headed by a scientist or a technocrat with a Cabinet rank, so that it could have direct access to the Office of the President in times of natural disasters.
The NDRRMC is just a council, which is not liable or subject to transparency and other COA rules.
The measure was filed in December 2013, a month after Supertyphoon Yolanda ravaged Tacloban and other Visayan provinces in November.
“Yolanda is a wakeup call for the government. The role of emergency management is very vital as natural disasters are getting stronger with the impact of climate change, which is becoming harsher and more frequent through the years. Forecasting should also level-up to inform the public and disaster responders [well]ahead of time,” he said.