WITH 181 affirmative votes and five negative votes, the House of Representatives approved on final reading the measure that seeks the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).
Two abstained from voting Monday, October 1, on House Bill 8165 or the “Department of Disaster Resilience Act.”
House Bill 8165 mandates the DDR to be responsible for “leading, organizing and managing the national effort to reduce disaster risk, prepare for and respond to disasters, recover and rehabilitate and build forward better after the concurrence of disasters.”
The measure also seeks the creation of the National Disaster Resilience Council, which shall serve as the policy advisory body to the department on disaster risk reduction and management and climate change adaptation.
The function and the funds of Office of Civil Defense, Climate Change Office, Geo-Hazard Assessment and Engineering Geology Section of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Health and Emergency Management Bureau of the Department of Health, Disaster Response Assistance and Management Bureau of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Bureau of Fire Protection on disaster response shall be transferred to the DDR upon the enactment of the bill.
Leyte Representative Yedda Marie Romualdez, one of the authors of the measure, lauded the passage of the bill.
Romualdez appealed to the Senate leadership to fast-track the passage of its version of the DDR bill, saying the measure would help reduce the bureaucratic red tape that has caused many delays in the delivery of immediate assistance needed by victims of disasters.
The passage of the department of disaster resilience bill came only three months after President Rodrigo Duterte asked the Congress in his State of the Nation Address on July 23 to draft a law that would create a department that would help the country respond to natural disasters and calamities faster. (SunStar Philippines)