Go pushes several disaster resiliency bills

Published January 6, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Mario Casayuran

Following a visit to fire victims in Sta. Ana, Manila on Sunday, neophyte Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Monday that he is pushing for the passage into laws of the bills that he filed last year, especially the ones that seek to address disaster resiliency issues in the country.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go (MALACAÑANG PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go (MALACAÑANG PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Foremost of these bills is one which seeks to create a Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).

Huwag na nating hintayin na magkaroon ng mga sunog, baha, at lindol (bago umaksyon). Dapat meron na tayong departamentong nakatutok talaga,” Go said during an interview after he gave assistance to the fire victims. (Let us not wait for fires, floods and earthquakes before we act. There should be a department that is focused on disasters.)

Go’s Senate Bill (SB) 205, or the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) Act, creates an empowered, highly specialized and responsive DDR with clear unity of command and primarily responsible in ensuring safe, adaptive and disaster-resilient communities.

The department shall concentrate on three key result areas, namely: disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness and response, and recovery and building forward better.

At present, various government agencies dealing with disaster risk reduction and management are scattered in several departments and offices and the current lead National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is merely a coordinating body.

The bill also includes the construction of permanent evacuation centers in disaster-prone areas.

“(Aside from natural disasters,) kailangan rin itong permanent evacuation centers tuwing may nasusunugan,” he explained. (There is a need for permanent evacuation centers whenever fires occur.)

Another bill that mandates the establishment of safe, permanent and dedicated evacuation centers was also filed by Go last December.

SB 1228, also known as the Mandatory Evacuation Center Act, will require every city, province and municipality to construct such centers that will be equipped with emergency packs, medicines and other basic necessities.

Go also sought to modernize the country’s fire protection bureau, prompting him to last July 2019 the Fire Protection Modernization bill (SB 204).

The measure seeks to modernize the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) with the adoption of a Fire Protection Modernization Program, which shall include the hiring of more personnel, acquisition of modern fire equipment, trainings for firefighters, among others, all designed to suppress all kinds of destructive fires and prevent deaths and injuries.

` Go also saw the need to update the National Building Code in order to ensure the safety and structural integrity of infrastructures in the country following a series of strong earthquakes that hit Mindanao last year.

`Before the Senate went on a month-long Christmas break that ends on January 19, Go filed the Philippine Building Act (SB 1252), seeking to update the existing building code which took effect on February 19, 1977 when then President Ferdinand Marcos issued Presidential Decree 1096.

A pioneering measure that tries to replicate the Davao 911 model was also filed by Go on his first month in the Senate.

SB 394 or the Emergency Medical Services Systems Council (EMSS) Act, mandates all local government units to establish an emergency medical service system for their area of jurisdiction as well as dispatch centers where constituents can call in cases of emergencies.

An Emergency Medical Services Systems Council (EMSS) to be created shall develop minimum requirements such as the need for emergency medical vehicles and ambulances.