Senator proposes new agency to handle disasters

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

SENATOR Antonio Trillanes IV proposed on Sunday the establishment of an agency that shall replace the existing National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

In filing Senate Bill 819, Trillanes said putting up an Emergency Management Agency under the Office of the President will give it more access to resources and initiate firmer policy actions in adapting and responding to natural and man-made disasters.

“Being under the Department of National Defense, it (NDRRMC) allocates funds from the small budget slice of DND. Also, under the current set up, the Secretary of National Defense serves as the head of NDRRMC. But because of the full-time demand of the National Defense, he can only focus on the NDRRMC during calamities,” the senator said.

Unlike NDRRMC which is limited to natural calamities, EMA defines national emergency situations to include man-made disasters like fire and disease outbreak, among others.

The proposed agency will be in charge of formulating policies aimed at reducing the risk of disasters, mitigating possible damage to life and property, initiating rapid and effective response to disasters, and effectively managing post-disaster recovery.

The EMA will be tasked to develop a comprehensive national emergency and disaster preparedness plan.

House Bill 3486, meanwhile, called for the creation of the Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (DDPEM) to replace NDRRMC.

The bill was filed last week by the House independent bloc led by Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez, whose province was severely battered by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) a month ago.

Romualdez said delays in the delivery of immediate assistance needed by the victims may be reduced or eliminated if there is a department devoted to calamity-related operations. (Sunnex)

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