Disaster agency goes beyond name — Recto

I think signage is the least important. The substantial aspects, like funding, to cite one, are what matter most

By TDT

August 2, 2022

The creation of a new disaster response agency should be considered without first deciding on its official name, Batangas Rep. Ralph Recto said Monday.

He was referring to proposals to create a new disaster agency to bolster the existing one.

“I think signage is the least important. The substantial aspects, like funding, to cite one, are what matter most,” said Recto, one of the deputy speakers of the 19th Congress.

To emphasize his point, he quoted the saying, “it doesn’t matter if the cat is black or white, as long as it catches the mice.”

Although President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos has not yet formally decided, the new organization will be known as the Department of Disaster Resilience. Her sister, Senator Imee Marcos, has suggested it be put under the Office of the President.

Recto underscored that attaching “department” to the new agency’s name “does not automatically make it a super, awesome agency.”

He emphasized the creation of the new agency should go beyond “karatula change, or a rebadging” of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

The NDRRMC, led by the Secretary of National Defense, currently serves as the multi-agency superbody which orchestrates all disaster-related initiatives.

According to Recto, the challenge is transforming the new agency into “an upgrade that is far superior” to the NDRRMC and its emergency response system.

He noted that Republic Act 10121, which establishes the national disaster risk reduction and management framework and the NDRRMC, is “fairly comprehensive on paper.”

He stressed that the agency “must be fully staffed and fully funded” to be effective in disaster response.

“An ounce of disaster preparedness is worth a pound of disaster response when harm is mitigated,” the solon remarked, adding that the focus is still on disaster resilience.

The lawmaker also mentioned a different plan for funding the establishment of a “ready-to-deploy AFP medical brigade” that would function both in “peacetime” and in times of emergency.

“If you are a country battered by two dozen typhoons a year, rocked by earthquakes, dotted by volcanoes, whose cities and farms are regularly flooded, then you need this response infrastructure,” he said.


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