SENATE President Vicente Sotto 3rd is optimistic that the measure that proposes the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) will be approved before lawmakers take their Christmas break.
The bill was certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Talagang kailangang-kailangan. Malaki ang posibilidad, at malaki rin ang posibilidad na mapirmahan ng Presidente ito (It is really needed. There’s a big possibility [that it will be passed] and there is also a big possibility that this will be signed [into law] by the President),” Sotto said in a radio interview on Monday.
Sotto was among eight senators who had pressed for the creation of DDR. They were Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Mary Grace Poe, Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Francis Tolentino, Pilar Juliana “Pia” Cayetano and Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara.
Under Senate Bill 245, Sotto wants to institutionalize the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.
The Philippines ranks third as the most disaster-prone country in the world, regularly suffering from typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, not to mention the occasional drought, epidemic, El Niño, and La Niña, as well as the staple flooding.
Under Pangilinan’s bill, a calamity fund of P20 billion or at least one percent of the estimated government revenue or whichever is higher will be created.
“While we have a National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, composed of several interacting agencies sharing the responsibility for disaster risk reduction and management and overseeing the national system, no one is overall in charge. We want disaster-prone Philippines to have a disaster-buster,” Pangilinan said. Bernadette E. Tamayo