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‘Proposed DDR to give country hope in face of disasters’

Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez has expressed hope that the enactment of the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience will drastically reduce the country’s vulnerability to natural hazards.

Romualdez, one of the principal authors of the measure, pushed for the passage of the measure as another potential super typhoon will enter the country later this week and may make landfall in the Batanes and Cagayan areas over the weekend.

“With the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience, we can look forward to the future with hope, knowing that the government is ready, better equipped and committed to exert its best effort to reduce the risks that come with natural disasters, to empower local communities to rise above the different vulnerabilities that surround them and to ensure that in the years to come, such a tragedy will never happen again,”

Romualdez, chairperson of the House committee on accounts, told her colleagues during her sponsorship speech Monday of the consolidated measure on DDR that would exclusively focus on disaster response.

Romualdez’s Tacloban City was hit by Super Typhoon ‘‘Yolanda’’ in 2003—one of the world’s strongest storms on record.

In appealing to her colleagues to immediately approve the Duterte administration-sponsored measure, Romualdez recalled the sufferings of many people, especially her constituents during and after the onslaught of Super Typhoon ‘‘Yolanda’’ due to the absence of a single agency on disaster response.

“It is crucial to highlight that the struggle of our people did not only happen during that very day Haiyan made landfall; it continued even weeks after the typhoon has long left our region. Deadlock and delays caused by bureaucratic paralysis, and poor coordination by different agencies rendered Tacloban City and most of the first district of Leyte completely helpless,” Romualdez lamented.

“It is a high time that we create a Department of Disaster Resilience that will effectively reduce our vulnerability to natural hazards and bolster our resilience to the impact of national disasters and climate change,” said Romualdez.

She reiterated that Yolanda “is an unspeakable tragedy that we do not want to happen again.”

“Until now, five years after Haiyan has passed, the pain caused by the strongest typhoon in recent history remains fresh in the hearts and minds of our constituents. Haiyan not only took our properties, our livelihood, and local businesses, but also the lives of our brothers and sisters, our mothers, fathers, grandparents, and even our friends. We all lost something on that day. Some lost someone they loved,” said Romualdez.

Romualdez is the wife of Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) President Martin Romualdez, the original proponent of the bill during the previous 16th Congress where he served as House Independent Bloc leader as congressman of Leyte.

Rep. Romualdez’s appeal was echoed by Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte, also one of the principal authors of the measure. Villafuerte, vice chairman of the House committees on appropriations, and local government, the proposed DDR would oversee all programs and activities to reduce the country’s vulnerability to natural calamities and climate change.

“The government cannot achieve high and inclusive growth without making our country climate resilient. With the unfortunate distinction of being ground zero for climate disaster, the Philippines’ losses during the typhoon season amounts to around 2 percent of our GDP (gross domestic product), while reconstruction efforts after disasters cost another 2 percent of our GDP based on our estimates,” said Villafuerte.

The House committee on government reorganization chaired by Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo and the House committee on national defense led by Pangasinan Rep. Amado Espino approved the consolidated DDR bill while the House committee on appropriations chaired by Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles gave the green light for the funding requirement of the measure.

Rep. Romualdez’s House Bill (HB) 7968 is a revised version of her original HB 344 that she earlier filed following President Duterte’s renewed call during his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) for Congress to expedite the passage of proposed law seeking to create a new department to be headed by a secretary that would exclusively manage disasters and calamities in the country.

Romualdez, vice chairperson of the House committee on government enterprises and privatization, said her proposal “aims to drastically reduce, if not totally eliminate, the bureaucratic red tape which has caused many delays in the delivery of immediate assistance needed by the victims.”

To ensure DDR’s unity of command as President Duterte pointed out, the Romualdez bill will abolish the Climate Change Commission and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). The bill guarantees fast and responsive procurement process to ensure the swift delivery of assistance.

Romualdez’s House Bill (HB) 7968 was a revised version of her original HB 344 that she earlier filed following President Duterte’s renewed call during his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) for Congress to expedite the passage of proposed law seeking to create a new department to be headed by a secretary that would exclusively manage disasters and calamities in the country.

Romualdez, vice chairperson of the House committee on government enterprises and privatization, said her proposal “aims to drastically reduce, if not totally eliminate, the bureaucratic red tape which has caused many delays in the delivery of immediate assistance needed by the victims.”

To ensure DDR’s unity of command as President Duterte pointed out, the Romualdez bill will abolish the Climate Change Commission and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). The bill guarantees fast and responsive procurement process to ensure the swift delivery of assistance.

Topics: Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez , Department of Disaster Resilience , Philippine Constitution Association
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