Velasco urges Senate to expedite passage of Department of Disaster Resilience bill

Published October 26, 2020, 5:55 PM

by Ben Rosario

As typhoon ‘’Quinta’’ battered a vast swath of the country, House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco issued a strong appeal to the Senate to prioritize passage of the bill creating the Department of Disaster Resilience to provide Filipinos ample protection against natural catastrophes.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco
(Lord Allan Velasco’s Office / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Velasco disclosed that the bill was approved by the House of Representatives and sent to the Senate last month.

“We earnestly urge our counterparts in the Senate to pass their own version so we can subsequently work on the enrolled bill to be sent to President Duterte’s desk for his signature,” said Velasco, one of the principal authors and sponsors of the bill.

The House leader  and his family were in Marinduque when the typhoon made landfall at around 2 a.m. Monday. 

“The Philippines is frequented by typhoons and our country is in the Pacific Ring of Fire, making us vulnerable to earthquakes. A department that deals specifically with disaster response and management is urgently needed,” Velasco said.

The House leader is currently coordinating efforts to rehabilitate his home province in the typhoon’s aftermath.   

Velasco has instructed  his staff to coordinate with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) so that assistance and immediate relief operations may be extended to other areas hit by the typhoon.

Congressmen whose districts have been affected by the typhoon also reported to the speaker the extent of damage in their areas and have started conducting relief operations.

 “We assure Marinduqueños that relief efforts are underway, and that we are working closely with the provincial government in the recovery and rehabilitation of Marinduque,” he said.

Velasco said the creation of the DDR will help the country immensely in mitigating the devastating effects of natural disasters, especially at a time when the whole world is battling a pandemic.

“The creation of a Department of Disaster Resilience allows us to be constantly prepared and well-equipped when natural disasters occur. This will enable other departments to put all their focus and efforts in helping the country recover from COVID-19,” Velasco said.

Voting 241-7 with one abstention, the House approved on third and final reading the consolidated DDR bill filed by 35 lawmakers, including Velasco.

The measure seeks to establish the DDR as the primary government agency that will lead, organize, and manage the national effort to reduce disaster risk, prepare for, and respond to disasters, and lead in recovery and rehabilitation efforts.