MANILA A House of Representatives member said the creation of a Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) could help address the resource gap among local communities in the face of the ever-increasing complexity and intensity of disaster.
During the weekly Philippine News Agency (PNA) talk show Pros and Cons", hosted by Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, Albay Representative Joey Salceda highlighted the need to build community capacity and resilience to disasters in order to prevent future Haiyan-like events.
"Yung DDR dapat fully-equipped para matulungan yung sinasabi nating resource gap ng mga local communities vis-A�-vis po doon saintensifying, rising frequency po ng mga ganong klase, saka increasing complexity ng disaster ibang klase (The DDR should be fully-equipped to address the resource gap among local communities vis-A�-vis the intensifying, rising frequency, as well as the increasing complexity of disaster at such a bizarre level)," Salceda said.
"How can you prevent another Yolanda where 10,000 people died? Importante po para sa atin na ngayong wala pa yun, pinaghahandaan na(It's important for us to prepare for what's ahead). There's continuous building of capacity and you know in Albay, we build capacity in everyone, he added.
He recalled that during the onslaught of typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan), the "surge capacity" of hospitals was severely limited because even those who were supposed to provide health care became disaster victims.
Surge capacity refers to the ability of hospitals to provide health and medical care during a sudden increase in the number of patients or victims of disasters.
"Yung catastrophe doon sa Yolanda pati yung internal capacities nila to respond, biktima na rin po�biktima yung nurse, biktima yung pulis, biktima rin po yung EMT, biktima na rin po (During the catastrophe brought about by Yolanda, the internal capacities meant to respond (to disasters) also became victimsnurses, policemen, and even emergency medical technicians became victims)," he said.
He said the DDR would enhance surge capacity during disasters to help raise the level of community preparedness.
He added that the DDR would also take into account the significance of the "golden hour" in disaster preparedness.
Golden hour refers to the time period following a traumatic injury during which there is the highest likelihood that prompt medical treatment will prevent death.
"It's very important for us, the Golden Hour. That particular hour wherein external government intervention or intervention from outside can still save more lives and probably save more properties. So yun ang kailangang nagawa kundi pagdating mo doon maglilibing ka na lang ng mga patay (That should have been done instead of arriving late just to dig some graves)," he added.
In October, the House of Representatives approved on final reading House Bill 8165, otherwise known as the Department of Disaster Resilience Act, which is a legislative priority of the Duterte administration.
Under the bill, the DDR will be the national government agency primarily responsible for disaster preparedness, prevention, mitigation, response, recovery, and rehabilitation.
"The Department shall be the primary government agency responsible for leading, organizing and managing the national effort to reduce disaster risk, prepare for, and respond to disasters, recover and rehabilitate, and build forward better after the occurrence of disasters," the bill read.
Among the powers and functions of the DDR are as follows: 1) oversee, direct, and undertake programs and projects to identify, assess, prioritize and localize hazards and risks in the country, in consultation with national government agencies, local government units, communities, and stakeholders that shall be involved in disaster risk reduction efforts; and 2) formulate the National Disaster Resilience Framework, National Disaster Resilience Plan, and the National Continuity Policy.
The bill also proposes the creation of a National Disaster Resilience Council (NDRC), which shall serve as the policy advisory body to the Department on disaster risk reduction and management and climate change adaptation.
The measure likewise seeks to create the Prevention, Mitigation and Preparedness Fund which shall be used exclusively to support programs, projects, and activities for climate change adaptation, disaster risk prevention and mitigation, disaster risk transfer, and disaster preparedness among 6th class provinces and municipalities.
The bill provides guidance and operating guidelines to Local Disaster Resilience Councils (LDRCs) for the declaration of imminent disaster in their respective areas to implement preemptive measures and use their quick response funds. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency