MANILA The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday said the proposed creation of Department of Disaster Management (DDM) will pave the way for a faster response to disasters and emergencies.
"Because, instead of just a coordinating body like NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council) that will be providing the response, it will be one Department that will help a disaster-affected province cope, DILG spokesperson Jonathan Malaya told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Malaya said since the NDRRMC is currently just a small attached agency of the Department of National Defense (DND), transforming the coordinating entity into a separate department will enable it to have its own budget that can be utilized immediately for quick intervention.
He added that with the creation of the DDM, there will be officials who can focus and take full responsibility instead of just having a coordinating body.
Mas maganda may (Cabinet) secretary level, na yun talaga ang trabaho niya (It will be better if it will have a Cabinet Secretary Level, who will have this particular function). And then he/she can call on support of the entire government structure," he said.
He said elevating the role to the Cabinet will require higher level of response.
Malaya, however, clarified that NDRRMC member agencies can still be retained once the DDM is created.
In addition, the local government units, he said will still be the first responders during disasters.
"What will be done is just removing NDRRMC as an attached agency of DND but the coordination to other agencies will still continue," he said.
Meanwhile, Malaya said the DILG is glad about the assurance made by former president and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to pass the measure in the House of Representatives.
House Bill 6075, authored by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, seeks to create the Department of Disaster Resilience Response, an independent agency that will handle the country's disaster preparedness and emergency management.
In the Senate, its counterpart is Senate Bill 1553 filed by Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito.
Last week, President Rodrigo R. Duterte during his third State of the Nation Address called on Congress to pass a law creating the Department of Disaster Management.
"We need a truly empowered department characterized by a unity of command, science-based approach and full-time focus on natural hazards and disasters, and... to take charge of the disaster risk reduction, preparedness, and response, with better recovery and faster rehabilitation," Duterte said. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency