Gov’t must be better prepared for disasters, say senators

Published November 14, 2020, 11:18 AM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senators on Saturday reiterated the need to strengthen the government’s preparedness for typhoons and disasters.


“We must act quickly and invest in prevention, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction,” Senator Grace Poe said in a statement after Typhoon Ulysses left cities and provinces submerged in massive floods.

She previously said that the Philippines is investing “far too little” for disaster mitigation, recovery and rehabilitation, despite the number of typhoons and other natural calamities that batter the country every year.

Poe noted that from its P20-billion budget in 2019, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRM) fund was cut to P16 billion this year. Under the 2021 proposed national budget, some P20 billion was again pitched for NDRRM.

She again called for the passage of her Senate Bill No. 124 or the proposed “Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management System Act”, which seeks to create a disaster risk reduction department and set aside at least three percent of all estimated regular government revenues for the NDRRM fund.

She also appealed for a “whole-of-government and private sector help to typhoon-affected residents across the country.”

Senator Risa Hontiveros shared the same view, saying: “We, in government, need to do better.”

“I always believe we can recover, but afterwards we in government must look to finally reimagine and strengthen our disaster preparedness and climate change response,” Hontiveros said on Twitter as she expressed her sympathy for those affected and displaced by Ulysses in the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, meanwhile, appealed for help for those who have been affected by the typhoons.

“Kung kaya pang tumulong, pagtulungan natin. Kumuha tayo ng lakas sa isa’t-isa sa pagharap sa kalamidad nang maibsan ang hirap ng ating mga kababayan (Let’s get strength from one another to help ease the suffering of our countrymen),” he said.

“In our own ways, we can give hope to our people. As leaders during this time of crisis it is our job to give hope to those who have lost everything to the floods,” Poe also said.