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Solon pushes plea for disaster agency

LEYTE Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt Romualdez appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent the proposal originally advocated by her husband creating a separate department that would manage disasters and calamities in the country.

Romualdez made a strong pitch for the passage when Duterte went to Tacloban City to join memorial rites in honor of the victims of Typhoon ‘‘Yolanda’’ in 2013.

The measure was originally proposed by her husband, former House Independent Bloc Leader and ex-Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, both president of the Philippine Constitution Association and Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats.

“I am appealing to our President to certify my bill as urgent measure because this will help mitigate the impact of future disasters and save lives and properties,” said Rep. Yedda on Tuesday who shared the stage with President Duterte, Martin Romualdez, Tacloban City Mayor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez, former Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, Cabinet secretaries and other key leaders at the mass grave to honor ‘‘Yolanda’’ victims.

Rep. Yedda also sought the help of Sen. Cynthia Villar to file a similar proposal in the Senate and asked the help of President Duterte’s Cabinet members to support the measure.

“This is why there is a continued need to create more so that the human calamity that happened after typhoon Haiyan will not happen again. We need to prepare more effectively and respond more efficiently to natural disasters and other emergency situations. With this in mind, we have filed once again House Bill 344, which proposes the creation of a Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, originally authored by former Congressman Martin Romualdez,” Rep. Yedda said.

Earlier, she made a strong pitch for the passage of the bill following the statement of former United States vice president Al Gore that over 13 million Filipinos may need to be relocated due to fast rising sea levels.

In filing HB 344 this 17th Congress, Rep. Yedda underscored the need for Congress to enact a measure that advocates disaster preparedness and effective emergency response protocols to enable the government to ably help victims of disaster and calamities.

The bill seeks to create the Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management or DDPEM to be headed by secretary of the Department of National Defense, stressing the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is not enough to address the various concerns during calamities.

“The Philippines is one of the countries that is often visited by strong typhoons. Around 19 tropical storms enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility in a typical year and, of these, usually 6 or 9 make landfall,” she explained explained.

Rep. Yedda stressed her proposed separate department would be similar to the Federal Management Agency in the United States.

Topics: Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt Romualdez , President Rodrigo Duterte , Tacloban City , Yolanda victims , Rep. Martin Romualdez , Super Typhoon "Yolanda" , Disasters and calamities department
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