Solon: Creation of disaster resilience dep’t needed

By : Jigger Jerusalem Mindanao Today/06:36:24am 01/06/2022


Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri (right) in a huddle with Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno during the senator's visit here recently to donate sacks of rice and tents to local residents affected by Typhoon Odette. (Jigger Jerusalem | Mindanao Today)

By Jigger Jerusalem
Associate Editor

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -With the reported slow action of the government in addressing the needs of those affected by Typhoon Odette, a senator from Mindanao has urged his fellow legislators to hasten the passage of a law that will create a separate department which will solely focus on disaster response.

Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri said he was dismayed with the snail-paced movement of concerned national government agencies when Odette struck parts of Visayas and Mindanao recently.

“The response was so slow. We wish that it was quicker,” Zubiri told reporters during his recent visit here to hand out assistance to Odette-affected residents.

That is why, he said, there is an urgent need for the two houses of congress to pass a legislation that will create the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).

Zubiri said he filed Senate Bill 1139 or the Department of Disaster Resilience Act in 2019 when Taal Volcano erupted.

Aside from SB 1139, Zubiri has also filed the National Mapping Act, to determine the country’s high-risk areas and danger zones.

The lawmaker said he was dismayed that until now, both Senate and Lower House have not acted on his proposed legislation.

With the DDR, Zubiri said, responding to calamities will be quicker as there will be a single government agency that will focus on response, rescue and rehabilitation including the building of disaster-resilient infrastructure.

“We need a go-to department where you can call up one secretary and mobilize the response with haste,” he said.

After going around Visayas and Mindanao to hand out sacks of rice and evacuation tents to displaced residents, Zubiri has noted the slow-moving delivery of assistance due to protocols, especially in the release of fuel.

“In times of crisis, there should be no red tape, no unnecessary protocols. Stumbling blocks and bottlenecks should be removed during the time of catastrophe,” he added.

Among the complaints that he received from local officials and residents were the sluggish action of the Department of Public Works and Highways in road-clearing and the Department of Energy on the restoration of power.

To date, Zubiri was able to donate 2,000 sacks of rice and 1,200 pieces of evacuation tents to displaced residents in Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu, Bohol, Agusan del Sur, and the cities of Butuan and Cagayan de Oro.

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