Actress-turned-congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez on Thursday appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent the House bill seeking to establish the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR), citing the importance of having a single agency and a clear system of responsibility for disaster preparedness and response in all government levels.
“I am appealing to President Duterte to please certify as urgent the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR). The DDR has been in the list of priority measures for the past two SONAs (State of the Nation Address),” Torres-Gomez said.
“Having the DDR in place ensures that whatever economic gains we achieve would not be at risk of slipping back just because of disaster events, especially as we re-establish our economy post-COVID,” she added.
Torres-Gomez, who is chairperson of the House Committee on Disaster Resilience, also called on senators to “urgently act on the proposal,” saying that flood-prone areas will ultimately benefit for the creation of the DDR.
“The rainy season will start soon. Many of our people who live in disaster-prone areas will again spend long days and nights worrying about the safety of their families once the typhoons start coming.
“Let us all act fast to finish legislative deliberations on the proposal so President Duterte can sign it into law before his term ends,” she explained.
Torres-Gomez pointed out that House bill no. 5989 was approved by the Upper House and has been transmitted to the Senate in September last year.
“In 2020, we experienced how disaster incidences ran their own course regardless of the pandemic. The total damages, just from the string of typhoons in the fourth quarter of last year, reached about P40 billion,” she said.
“We need to raise our game in disaster management and build national resilience by establishing a full-fledged department. Otherwise, our country will always be on the losing end in the face of persistent extreme weather occurrences and destructive geologic events,” she added.
With DDR, Torres-Gomez stressed that a “more efficient, coordinated, and complete system of disaster management” will be ensured.
Through this, she said, damage to lives and properties will be mitigated.