Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has confirmed that President Rodrigo R. Duterte is set to sign within the week an executive order establishing the inter-agency task force to start the rehabilitation of areas devastated by recent typhoons.
Go urged concerned agencies that would be part of the inter-agency task force to “build back better” towards creating more disaster-resilient communities in the country.
“Filipinos are known for their resilience and we have always been proud of that. But it is the government’s duty to ensure that communities are built to be more disaster-resilient to protect the lives of Filipinos,” he said after leading the distribution of assistance to flood-hit residents in Marikina City on Monday.
Go said while government efforts keep on improving in terms of disaster preparedness and response, there is still a need to think long-term to mitigate and reduce disaster risks in the future.
“Let us think long-term. Bukod sa rescue and response operations, importante na matutukan ng task force kung paano gawing mas disaster-resilient ang mga komunidad na palaging tinatamaan ng sakuna (Aside from rescue and response operations, it is important for the task force to focus on how to make communities that are prone to disaster more disaster-resilient),” he said. “More than simply rebuilding, we should build back better.”
Go said the creation of a task force is a step towards the right direction and must ensure that everything is synchronized, coordinated, and done well.
“I cannot stress this enough: Government must move as one to ensure that the delivery of assistance is timely, effective, and responsive,” he said.
While recognizing the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s crucial role in disaster preparedness and response, Go said the council still needs help in implementing and monitoring post-disaster recovery.
He said the President has been consistent in his call that all concerned agencies should immediately assist all affected Filipinos, use all available resources to restore normalcy as soon as possible, and mobilize the whole government for a holistic approach towards recovery and rehabilitation.
“I directed them to streamline (processes) para madali ang (to expedite) rehabilitation efforts (for those) affected by the typhoon,” Duterte said during his recent address to the nation.
He gave agencies a timeline to take steps without delays and cut red tape to speed up the process of helping the people.
Go has also been appealing for the augmentation of calamity funds in local government units (LGUs) severely affected by the recent calamities as most of their resources have already been spent in addressing the prevailing pandemic.
In a media interview in Marikina, Go said his appeal has been heeded by the Executive Department after Duterte initially approved the augmentation of the calamity funds for severely affected LGUs.
“Inaprubahan na rin ni Pangulong Duterte ‘yung direktiba na inapela ko noong mga nakaraang linggo. Iyong ubos na ang calamity fund ng mga apektadong LGUs dahil sa pandemya (President Duterte approved the directive that I have appealed last week for typhoon-affected LGUs that have depleted their calamity funds due to the pandemic),” he said.
Go added that the national government would give 1 percent of the internal revenue allotment (IRA) to help the areas hit by the typhoons.
During the interview, he also expressed his grief over the death of some rescuers during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.
“Nakikiramay ako sa mga rescuers natin. Mga bayani po yan, nagsakripisyo po sa iba’t ibang parte ng bansa. May taga-DPWH na nag-rescue, namatay. Nakakalungkot na may nag-buwis ng buhay (I express my sympathy to our rescuers — our heroes who sacrificed their lives in different parts of the country, including the rescuers from the Department of Public Works and Highway. Unfortunately, there were rescuers who have lost their lives),” Go said.
SOURCE: PHILIPPINES NEWS AGENCY