Albay Rep. Joey Salceda on Thursday said Congress must prepare to accommodate a request from the executive branch for supplemental appropriations to fund the relief and rehabilitation efforts in areas affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.
In an aide-memoire addressed to Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Salceda said the House of Representatives must anticipate the formulation and legislation of a Taal Eruption Recovery Rehabilitation and Adaptation (TERRA) Plan.
Salceda noted the TERRA Plan entails the creation of a reconstruction commission which shall be the primary agency for implementing the rehabilitation efforts, which could have an estimated cost of PHP60 to 100 billion.
The plan shall be based on the principle of building back better forward which should go beyond restoring the area to its former state or condition but instead use this opportunity to leapfrog area development given its proximity to Metro Manila--the seat of economic power," he said.
Salceda also stressed the need to immediately pass the Department of Disaster Resilience bill, which is a critical step in future-proofing the Philippines.
He argued that a structurally sound DDR is necessary for ease of monitoring, clarity of direction and coordination, effective mobilization and public communication.
By creating a department solely devoted to disaster response and preparedness, and which does not answer to another Cabinet agency, Congress can ensure that disaster response is quickly decided at the highest levels of government, he said.
Inter-agency coordination or the lack of it consumes time and creates confusion. Creating one department solely responsible for the response sets a path for clear implementation and direction, he added.
He noted that currently, disaster response mobilization is fragmented, with different agencies belong to different mother departments performing different functions at often different timetables.
He said the DDR will unify these functions and assume the task of on-time delivery of disaster relief and personnel.
With the DRR, national support for local disaster preparedness and response becomes institutional and thus more dependable. Disaster preparedness should not be a work in bursts, but should instead be a sustained effort, Salceda said.
Source: Philippines News Agency