The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) expressed openness to President Duterte’s call for the establishment of a new department that will focus on disaster management.
NDRRMC spokesperson Mark Timbal said on Monday they are willing to work with Congress for the passage of a law that will create the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) as stated by Duterte during his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“We support the President’s call for the creation of the DDR and we will continue to help Congress in the crafting of an improved DDRM system,” Timbal told the Manila Bulletin.
Duterte stressed the need for the creation of a DRR citing the safety of the Filipinos in times of disasters “cannot be delegated to a council or commission.”
The Philippines lies along a typhoon belt which exposes the country to at least 20 storms per year.
It is also located within the “Pacific Ring of Fire,” an area in the Pacific Ocean which is home to about 75 percent of the world’s volcanoes and 90 percent of its earthquakes, according to the National Geographic.
“The problem is disaster and even a fire cannot be.. they cannot make a study for projection when the earthquake would suddenly come and make a big crack there. Hindi natin alam talaga (We really do not know),” Duterte said.
“Ang ibig kong sabihin (What I mean is), this will require more than just one brainwork kung paano talaga itong (on) how to prevent or avoid disaster,” he added.
In November 2019, NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad welcomed proposals for the creation of a DRR but added that it might be “overwhelming.”
He said that disaster preparedness not only refers to ways on how to prepare the public for a calamity or disaster, but also the response to affected individuals during and after it strikes.
“The department cannot be the implementing agency of all interventions for rehabilitation. In fact, most of these interventions will be done by the different agencies which will be tasked by that [DRR],” Jalad was quoted as saying in a Senate hearing tackling the proposals for the establishment of DRR on November 11, 2019.
Jalad had said that it might work if the DRR’s operations would be limited to disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) alone.