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MANDATORY SERVICE OF PROFESSIONALS NEEDED IN DISASTER RESPONSE – TOLENTINO

Senator Francis Tolentino is pushing for the passage of a measure that will require mandatory civil conscription for disaster and humanitarian service.

In his sponsorship speech delivered during the plenary session, Tolentino stressed that a ready and able body of professionals be equipped to be called upon to render aid in emergency situations and enable communities to quickly respond to such calamities.

The legislator filed Senate Bill 1129 in the wake of strong earthquakes that affected millions of Filipinos in Mindanao.

“We must exert all efforts to address against calamities to save not only our lives but that of our children and the future generations.” 

“I rise today, urging you all that we must exert all efforts to address these calamities, both natural and man-made, to save not only our lives but that of our children and the future generations,” the lawmaker said.

“The Civil Conscription Act will require the mandatory service of professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and engineers, in the aftermath of calamities and disasters,” the senator added.

Under the bill, professionals, such as structural engineers and licensed medical personnel, may be called upon by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to render mandatory civil service and humanitarian purposes in times of disasters and calamities in order to aid in humanitarian efforts and post-disaster rehabilitation through a system of recruitment for a limited period.

He also urged his colleagues to fast-track the passage of a bill creating the Department of Disaster Management.

“It is hereby proposed that the new Department of Disaster Management be created to serve as the lead agency for all disasters and rehabilitation management programs, policies and activities in the country. Among its thrusts will be the immediate or quick rehabilitation of affected areas,” Tolentino said.

“Post-disaster rehabilitation, recovery, and reconstruction are major challenges.” 

He noted that post-disaster rehabilitation, recovery, and reconstruction are major challenges not only in terms of costs but also in securing consensus among stakeholders of what constitutes “building back better.”

Tolentino stressed the need to design post-disaster physical infrastructure and socio-economic systems to adequately withstand the very real possibility of another mega-disaster.

“A credible Post Disaster Needs Assessment and a comprehensive Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan are critical in order to restore and improve the facilities, livelihood, living conditions and organizational capacities of the affected communities,” he added.

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