Cayetano renews call for establishment of Department of Disaster Resilience

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Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday renewed his call for the establishment of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR), saying the country needs a department that will focus on rehabilitation efforts and boost the national government’s rehabilitation capacity.

“Ang point ay hindi kaya ng present set-up natin na DOH, DSWD, at DOLE ang sila ang tumutugon kapag mayroong kalamidad, kasi after ‘yung relief, wala ng effort sa rehabilitation,” Cayetano said in a press conference in Baguio City on July 2.

(The point is our present set-up, where the Department of Health, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Department of Labor and Employment all respond to disasters, is not working because no rehabilitation efforts usually come after the relief.)

Cayetano made the statement as the country marks National Disaster Resilience Month this July. He was in Baguio City for the latest edition of the Sampung Libong Pag-asa live virtual program where he and his allies were set to distribute 10K Ayuda to a total of 500 beneficiaries.

“If you go to Agoncillo, Laurel, and San Nicolas, Batangas, maraming ipinangako sa kanila January last year na hindi pa nabibigay hanggang ngayon. Hindi mo rin masasabing kasalanan ng DSWD, kasi buong Pilipinas inaalagaan plus a certain sector na vulnerable, tapos tuwing may bagyo, sila pa rin,” he added.

(If you go to Agoncillo, Laurel, and San Nicolas in Batangas, you will find that many promises made in January last year have still not been delivered. We cannot also blame the DSWD because it is not only looking after one province but the whole country plus a certain sector that is vulnerable. And each time there is a typhoon it is also the one doing the work.)

Cayetano noted that while the country has improved its relief efforts, much can be done on the rehabilitation side.

“Magaling na tayo sa relief. Halimbawa, sabihin mong may nasunugan. Lahat ‘yan – LGUs, ang congressman, ang mayor, at ang barangay captain – ay mabilis. Kung tatlo hanggang apat na bahay, I’m sure mabibigyan na ng pang-rehabilitation. But let’s say isang-daang bahay o pamilya ang tinamaan, napakahirap pa rin hanapin kung saan mo kukunin ang pondo – sa DSWD ba? Sa DOLE? O sa NHA? So ‘yung rehabilitation natin napakahina, eh ‘yun ang kailangan ng pinoy,” Cayetano said.

(We do well on our relief efforts. For example, if in a fire incident three to four families were affected, then the local government unit and its officials would surely be able to provide for their immediate rehabilitation. But what happens if the same happens to 100 families? We might still have difficulty finding funds for their rehabilitation. So we still have to work on that.)

“I’m sure no one means it that way. No congressman, mayor, or president will tell a Filipino, ‘Bahala ka na sa buhay mo (Fend for yourself).’ But actions speak louder than words, so we have to have programs na nakatutok (that are focused),” he added.

The DDR bill seeks to establish a focused and specialized single government agency that functions not only after the occurrence of disasters but works all-year-round to ensure that effective mechanisms for disaster risk reduction are in place even before a disaster occurs.

The bill was passed on third and final reading in the House of Representatives on September 21, 2020.

It is still pending in the Senate, however. It was read on first reading on September 28 and referred to the Senate Committees on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation; Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation; Ways and Means; and Finance.

“So I think for a country that’s prone to storms, flooding, earthquakes – God forbid na may Yolanda or may Baguio earthquake na mangyari ulit – kailangan handa naman tayo. So, isa po ‘yan sa itinutulak talaga ng grupo,” Cayetano said.

(So I think for a country that is prone to storms, flooding, earthquakes – God forbid another Yolanda or Baguio earthquake happens – we have to be prepared. So that is one proposal that we are really pushing for.)

Cayetano, muling isinusulong ang pagtatatag ng Department of Disaster Resilience

Muling nanawagan si dating House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano sa gobyerno na magtatag ng Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) upang magkaroon ang bansa ng isang kagawaran na  tututok sa mga programa ukol sa rehabilitasyon at magpapalakas ng kapasidad sa rehabilitasyon ng bansa.

“Ang point ay hindi kaya ng present set-up natin na DOH, DSWD, at DOLE ang sila ang tumutugon kapag mayroong kalamidad, kasi after ‘yung relief, wala ng effort sa rehabilitation,” sabi ni Cayetano sa isang press conference noong Hulyo 2 sa Lungsod ng Baguio.

Sinabi ito ni Cayetano sa ikalawang araw ng National Disaster Resilience Month ngayong Huloy. Bumisita siya sa Lungsod ng Baguio para sa pinakabagong edisyon ng programang Sampung Libong Pag-asa, kung saan nakatakda siya at ang kanyang mga kaalyado sa Kongreso na mamahagi ng 10K Ayuda sa 500 benepisyaryo.

“If you go to Agoncillo, Laurel, and San Nicolas, Batangas, maraming ipinangako sa kanila January last year na hindi pa nabibigay hanggang ngayon. Hindi mo rin masasabing kasalanan ng DSWD, kasi buong Pilipinas inaalagaan plus a certain sector na vulnerable, tapos tuwing may bagyo, sila pa rin,” dagdag niya.

Ayon sa kanya, bagaman magaling na ang bansa pagdating sa pagbibigay ng relief, marami pa itong maaaring gawin pagdating sa rehabilitasyon.

“Magaling na tayo sa relief. Halimbawa, sabihin mong may nasunugan. Lahat ‘yan – LGUs, ang congressman, ang mayor, at ang barangay captain – ay mabilis. Kung tatlo hanggang apat na bahay, I’m sure mabibigyan na ng pang-rehabilitation. But let’s say isang-daang bahay o pamilya ang tinamaan, napakahirap pa rin hanapin kung saan mo kukunin ang pondo – sa DSWD ba? Sa DOLE? O sa NHA? So ‘yung rehabilitation natin napakahina, eh ‘yun ang kailangan ng pinoy,” wika niya.

“I’m sure no one means it that way. No congressman, mayor, or president will tell a Filipino, ‘Bahala ka na sa buhay mo.’ But actions speak louder than words, so we have to have programs na nakatutok,” mungkahi ni Cayetano.

Layunin ng panukalang batas na magtatag ng isang kagawaran na nakapokus hindi lamang sa mga programa pagkatapos ng isang kalamidad, kung hindi pati na rin sa mga mekanismo na maaaring ilunsad ng gobyerno buong taon upang maiwasan ang mga sakuna.

Napasa ng House of Representatives sa ikatlong pagbasa ang nasabing batas noong Setyembre 21, 2020.

Subalit nananatiling nakabinbin sa Senado ang nasabing batas. Noong Setyembre 28, binasa ito sa unang pagbasa at isinangguni sa mga Senate Committee sa National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation; Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation; Ways and Means; at Finance.

“So I think for a country that’s prone to storms, flooding, earthquakes – God forbid na may Yolanda or may Baguio earthquake na mangyari ulit – kailangan handa naman tayo. So, isa po ‘yan sa itinutulak talaga ng grupo,” sabi ni Cayetano.

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