During his visit to victims of Typhoon Tisoy in Daraga, Albay, Senator Bong Go urged his colleagues in the Senate and the House of Representatives to expedite the passage of the proposed measure providing for the creation of a Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) as calamities such as earthquakes and typhoons frequently occur in the country.

“Ang DDR dapat lang po maipasa ito. Bilisan na po natin sa Kongreso. I urge my colleagues sa Senado at sa mga Congressmen na sana po ay bilisan na natin to para ma-certify as urgent (ng Pangulo),” Go said during an ambush interview, adding that the measure has been taken up in the Senate on committee level and can be certified as urgent by the President once a committee report is filed.

“Tapos na kami sa isang committee hearing, napag-usapan na namin ito. Bilisan na natin, huwag na nating maghintay na magkaroon ng bagyo, sunog o earthquake,” the legislator said.

“The country’s geographic location makes it prone to natural disasters.”

“Para meron nang isang departamento na nakatutok na lalapitan ng tao at makikipag-coordinate (with) all agencies,” the lawmaker added, emphasizing that the country’s geographic location makes it prone to natural disasters, hence the need for government to be more responsive in mitigating the impact of these natural occurrences.

The senator filed in July Senate Bill No. 205 or the “Department of Disaster Resilience Act of 2019” which proposes for the creation of DDR, “an empowered, highly specialized department with clear unity of command and primarily responsible in ensuring safe, adaptive and disaster-resilient communities.”

The bill seeks to establish a clear system of responsibility for disaster preparedness and response in all levels of the government, given the increasing number and devastation brought about by various disasters.

Through the proposed measure, the existing Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) offices will be renamed as Local Disaster Resilience Offices. A Disaster Resilience Fund will also be established to finance DDR’s operations, disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness, response, recovery, rehabilitation and building forward better programs, projects and activities formulated in the national level.

The National Disaster Operations Center will be established, with its corresponding Alternative Command and Control Centers, while a Disaster Resilience Research and Training Institute will also be created to provide training and to collect, consolidate, manage and share knowledge and information resources to boost disaster resilience.

Currently, disaster-related responsibilities are shared among various government agencies.

“The bill will provide for the creation of permanent evacuation centers all over the country.”

In an interview during his visit in Albay, Go said that the bill will provide for the creation of permanent evacuation centers all over the country equipped with features to ensure safety and comfort for evacuees.

“Isa rin po sa aking mga isinusulong ang pagtatayo ng permanent evacuation centers kapag may nasusunog o earthquake. Para may maayos silang paglalagyan habang hindi pa sila nakakauwi sa kanilang pamamahay,” he added.

Meanwhile, during his visit, Go distributed relief and financial assistance to 150 families in Daraga, Albay who were affected by the destructive typhoon. He also said that he and the local government will replace the school supplies and uniforms of children who lost theirs in the disaster so they can immediately resume schooling.

“May dala po akong konting grocery items at ako na rin po ang bibili ng uniporme ng mga bata para makapabalik agad sila sa kanilang pag-aaral,” Go said.

During his visit, he was also joined by representatives from concerned government agencies, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the local Social Welfare and Development office, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the National Housing Authority (NHA) to provide additional assistance to the victims.

“Nandito rin po ang iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno para magbigay ng tulong kaagad tulad ng DSWD may programa tayo. Ang NHA naman po, may programa rin tayo. Ang PAGCOR at PCSO, bibigyan din sila ng financial assistance. Ang iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno, kanya kanyang tulong sa mga biktima including DTI, may livelihood assistance,” Go said, also mentioning that President Rodrigo Duterte has issued a directive for the creation of housing units in the region.

As for areas experiencing electricity loss, he said that he will talk to Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi for the immediate restoration of power supply.

“I will talk to Seretary Cusi kung pwede mabalik kaagad sa normal. Titingnan muna natin kung mayroon talagang nasirang mga linya. Talagang napakalakas ng bagyo,” Go said.

He also reiterated the directives of President Rodrigo Duterte during their earlier visit to Albay for the Department of Education to start immediate repair of damaged classrooms, the Department of Public Works and Highways to restore damaged road sections and bridges, the Department of Energy to continue restoration of power supply, and the Department of Information and Communication Technology to immediately restore communication systems.

Typhoon Tisoy (international name Kammuri), hit the Bicol region on December 2, leaving 12 people dead and an estimated economic damage worth PhP 811 million, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

After his visit to Daraga victims, Go proceeded to Gubat, Sorsogon to extend similar assistance to typhoon victims in the province.

“Kahit saang sulok po ng Pilipinas, pupuntahan ko po kayo hanggang sa makakaya ko para magbigay ng tulong at mag-iwan ng ngiti sa oras ng inyong pagdadalamhati,” Go told the victims, explaining that he regularly visits victims of calamities to listen to their concerns and provide solutions to their daily struggles.


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