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Disaster management authority

WITH violently destructive typhoons frequently hitting our country, a national agency dedicated to effective disaster management is a must. Albay Rep. Joey Salceda’s House Bill 1648 in Congress meets this urgent need. Disaster risk reduction (DRR) practitioners and advocates have pledged to support the measure.

HB 1648 is titled “An Act Further Strengthening the Philippines Disaster Reduction and Management System by Institutionalizing the Framework and Plan and Establishing the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA), an independent body under the Office of the President dedicated to pre-disaster risk reduction and post-disaster reconstruction.”

It seeks to amend the 2010 Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act (RA10121). Salceda describes his bill as a result of “action research, sharing of experiences and dynamic discussions among various stakeholders” and a “product of comparable international experiences.”

The proposed NDRRMA will engage all sectors including risk transfer and insurance players, and will “manage broader governance arrangements and oversee DRRM efforts towards sustainable development goals.”

Among the bill’s supporters are the Disaster Risk Reduction Network Philippines (DRRNetPhils) and community-based disaster risk reduction and management (CBDRRM) advocates which include the Centre for Disaster Preparedness, PRRM, Coastal Core, ACCRD, Damayan ng Maralitang Pilipinong Api, UP College of Social Work, Oxfam; Plan International; and World Vision, etc.

DRRNetPhils Lead Convenor Maria Felizar-Cagay said their support for HB 1648 is part of CBDRRM’s advocacy of building resilient communities.

Salceda’s bill jibes with Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s Senate Resolution 10, calling the Congressional Oversight Committee to undertake a “sunset review” of RA10121. He said Typhoon Yolanda “exposed the disconnect between the provisions of RA10121 and the realities and dynamics on the ground.”

Lacson was Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery in Yolanda’s wake. Former Albay Gov. Salceda was the first Asian and Filipino to co-chair the UN Green Climate Fund Board where he represented Southeast Asia and the developing countries.

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The country’s drive towards Federalism is decidedly gaining headway. I just arrived from Boracay where I attended a Federalism forum with noted lawyer Raul Lambino as resource speakers. Filipinos who understand its concept, dynamics and structures generally welcome the idea.

From how things go, we seem headed for the French Presidential-Parliamentary model which is not far removed from our existing Presidential system. The two other most popular representative federal modes are the US Presidential-Federal and the German-Federal system. (Johnny Dayang)