The Palace has expressed optimism that the law seeking to create the Department of Disaster Resilience will be made with the new Congress.
Speaking to reporters in Malacañang, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the 18th Congress which opened Monday will “hopefully” pass the law creating a new department that is expected to deliver an enhanced disaster resiliency and quick disaster response.
Earlier this year, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that efforts in creating the country’s DDR has been gaining momentum.
During his State of the Nation Address in 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte called on the Congress to “expeditiously craft a law establishing a new authority or department that is responsive to the prevailing 21st century conditions.”
In the 17th Congress, five Senate bills were filed proposing the establishment of a DDR.
The other proposed names are: Department of Disaster Resilience and Emergency Management, Department of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, and Department of Disaster and Emergency Management.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives had approved its version of the bill on third and final reading in 2018.
Under the bill, DDR would be responsible for coordinating the preparation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of disaster and climate change resilience programs.
The bill would also order the creation of the Prevention, Mitigation, and Preparedness Fund which will be used to support programs for climate change adaptation, disaster risk prevention and mitigation of 3rd to 6th class provinces and municipalities in the country.
The proposed department would have more powers than the current National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
As proposed in the House bill, the powers, functions, and funds of the Office of Civil Defense, Climate Change Office, Geo-Hazard Assessment and Engineering Geology Section of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, and the Bureau of Fire Protection would be transferred to the DDR.
Moreover, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology would become attached agencies to the proposed department.