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DDR, once more in focus

 

By JOHNNY DAYANG

 

GOVERNMENT initiatives before, during, and after supertyphoon Ompong’s on­slaught have amply demon­strated lessons learned from periodic climate change dep­redations.

Ompong claimed many lives, exacted heavy damage to crops and infrastructures, and highlighted the imperative need for a separate Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) proposed by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda which hopefully will be realized soon.

The televised cabinet meeting presided over by President Duterte at the DRRMC before Ompong struck was publicly reassuring. It provided the public vital information and updates on government measures relative to Ompong. It was also instructive on what people must do. Sadly, hardheaded folks who even ridiculed policemen advising them to evacuate, perished in the Benguet landslides.

Salceda’s proposal conforms with President Duterte’s vision of the DRR to have “unity of command, science-based approach and full-time focus on natural hazards and disasters… preparedness, response, better recovery and faster rehabilitation.”

Further reassuring was the assignment of northern Luzon Cabinet members to help in disaster response in their provinces. The designation of Presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino as “conduit” to coordinate various agencies and other stakeholders somehow fulfilled the “unity of command” aspect of the operations.

Piñol’s travels. As expected basic commodity prices skyrocketed in the battered areas. Hopefully rice availability could be maintained. Fake news, misrepresentation, and distortion of facts in social media about rice supply problems resulting from gross NFA mismanagement have unduly caused travails for Agriculture Secretary, Manny Piñol, a veteran journalist.

In a recent social media post, Piñol narrated an actual incident in Talakag, Bukidnon, where he talked with farmers who complained of low buying price for their produce, expensive transport, and high loan interests while farm production costs and commodity prices soar due to manipulations.

Aside from NFA rice supply shortage and the planned galunggong importation, the farmer were angry about Piñol’s reported suggestion to “legalize rice smuggling” in Zamboanga which media trolls pounced on.

Piñol clarified his misconstrued statements and presented issues in clearer terms, citing facts and reality. He cannot be blamed for our rice supply shortage. He has no control over smuggling and NFA has been returned to DA only now.

Ironically, while government boasts of its “Build, Build, Build” and defense modernization agenda, Filipino farmers remain mired with their outmoded gears, technology, facilities, and insufficient state loan support.

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