Senate President Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri is the right Senate leader for the passage of a bill on the proposed disaster agency, Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda said.
“I am more optimistic now that Senate President Zubiri leads that chamber. Albay and Bukidnon, his ancestral homelands, are both disaster-prone. Senator Imee Marcos wants to sponsor the disaster agency. So, I think there’s a stronger chance we will get the agency done this time around," Salceda said in a statement.
“It does not have to be a department as the House wants. It can be something closer to the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA, as Senator Imee recently pointed out. But we just hope the Senate will send us something so that we can hammer out a bicameral version," he added.
Salceda, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, gave these remarks just days removed from the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck northern Luzon.
Showing a bit of gamesmanship, the Bicol solon challenged the Senate to "take the proposal up, discuss, compromise, craft their own version, and eventually vote on it. If they really believe that we do not need this agency, at least have the honesty to reject it in a committee or plenary vote".
“This will be the third time we are trying to get this done. It was transmitted under Speaker PGMA (President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) with more than a year for the Senate to consider. The House again approved DDR under Speaker Cayetano, with more than 2 years for Senate consideration. Still no Senate action,” Salceda said.
“It’s still early in the President’s term. We have time. But we should not treat this time as an excuse for complacency. If trends continue, we already know that at least 7,200 people will die of preventable disaster-related causes during PBBM’s (President Bongbong Marcos) term of office, if we keep doing what we have kept doing. Knowing that, delaying what we know to be necessary is unconscionable," he further said.