Typhoon-hit LGUs reminded of option to declare 'state of calamity'

Published December 18, 2021, 5:02 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said cities and provinces ravaged by typhoon “Odette” have the option to declare a “state of calamity” in their locality if they feel the need for it.

Siargao, post-‘Odette’ (Philippine Coast Guard)

Speaking in a briefing about the typhoon in Malacañang on Friday, Dec. 17, Nograles told President Duterte that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has been assessing the damage caused by Odette in areas in the Visayas and Midnanao.

“They are getting lahat ng mga (all the) information. And then kung kinakailangan ay iakyat agad sa inyong opisina, sir, ang magiging assessment ng NDRRMC pati ang recommendations ng NDRRMC through Secretary [Delfin] Lorenzana (if needed, it will be sent immediately to your office, sir, as well as the NDRRMC’s assessment and recommendations through Secretary Lorenzana),” said the acting presidential spokesperson.

“But in the meantime, tama po ‘yung sinabi ng DBM (Department of Budget and Management) may Quick Response Fund naman na magagamit ‘yung iba’t ibang mga department (the DBM was correct in saying that there’s a Quick Response Fund that the departments an utilize),” he noted.

“Then in the meantime, ‘yung ating mga local government units (LGUs) ‘pag kinakailangan nilang mag-declare ng state of calamity locally, mayroon naman silang karapatan to do that (if our LGUs need to declare a state of calamity locally, they have the right to do that),” added Nograles.

Under Republic Act (RA) No. 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, a “state of calamity” is defined as “a condition involving mass casualty and/or major damages to property, disruption of means of livelihoods, roads and normal way of life of people in the affected areas as a result of the occurrence of natural or human-induced hazard”.

The following measures are imposed whenever a state of calamity is declared by the Philippine national government: appropriation for calamity funds, price freeze for basic necessities, and granting of no-interest loans.

By law, LGUs may also declare a state of calamity.

President Duterte is expected to visit typhoon-stricken areas this weekend. These areas include Siargao, Bohol, Cebu and Surigao, just to name a few.

Odette is the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year. It first made landfall on Siargao last Thursday.