SENATOR Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Sunday called on her colleagues to make a priority proposed bills aimed at improving the government’s typhoon preparations and disaster risk reduction as the country approaches the rainy season.
“The Philippines is on the western rim of the Pacific Ocean, the most tropical cyclone-prone waters on Earth, making the country very susceptible to typhoons. We cannot afford further tragic loss of lives or damage to property caused by floods,” Santiago said.
According to her, there are at least five typhoon-related proposed bills that if passed could help boost the government’s typhoon preparedness but noted that the bills remain pending at the committee level.
The most recent was Senate Bill 2561, or the National Flood Insurance bill, that aims to augment state-funded disaster assistance and better meet escalating costs of repairing damage to residential and other buildings and their contents.
The bill, if enacted, would create a National Flood Insurance Program, enabling people living in flood-prone areas to purchase insurance against loss resulting from physical damage to or loss of real or personal property caused by any flood.
Santiago also filed three typhoon-related bills in 2013 but until now they are pending at the committee level namely SB 394, or the Flood Recovery Fund bill; SB 1576, or the National Flood and Research Education bill; and SB No. 1724, or the Culvert Safety bill.
The senator said inaction on the Flood Recovery Fund bill, filed in July 2013, is depriving flood victims, especially those who are poor, of speedy financial assistance in the form of no-interest loans from the fund the proposed law will create.
The National Flood and Research Education bill, filed in September 2013, is aimed at creating an Office of Flood Research and Policy that will develop best practices for predicting, preventing and minimizing flooding and its effects.
The creation of such office could effectively address flood problems including those suffered by Metro Manila.