By Elizabeth Marcelo | GMA News Online
Senator Bongbong Marcos on Monday pushed for the institutionalization of disaster response and relief protocols of the government.
In a privilege speech, Marcos introduced Senate Resolution No. 1056 which directs the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Office of the Civil Defense’s (OCD) implementation of Republic Act 10121 or the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Law.
Marcos said with the frequency of strong typhoons entering the country such Yolanda and Ruby, there was a greater need to institutionalize disaster and relief response protocols both in the national as well as local levels.
Marcos, who chairs the Senate’s committee on local government, says that government response in Ruby was an improvement compared with that of Yolanda especially in terms of implementing massive and early evacuation. He, however, said the loss of lives could have been prevented further had the people knew of the protocols for disaster response being undertaken by NDRRMC.
Based on the figure of the NDRRMC there were more than 6,000 people who died from Yolanda while as of Thursday last week, the NDRRMC recorded 18 casualties from Ruby.
“We thank God that Ruby’s winds slowly dissipated and we did not experience its full fury. I want to know whether we are truly prepared for the effects of a super typhoon or a killer quake. Through this probe, our Senate will be able to identify problem areas, listen to experts and share best practices on disaster response with our NDRRMC officials,” Marcos said during his privilege speech.
Marcos said that through the inquiry, the Senate aims to pick up the best practices by the NDRRMC and OCD and to codify and institutionalize them by crafting a more efficient disaster risk reduction and response plan in accordance with RA 10121.
According to the NDRRMC report a total of 1,766,929 individuals were evacuated in preparation for Ruby. This led to the declaration by the United Nations International Strategies for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) that it was the largest peacetime evacuation in Philippine history.
Super typhoon Ruby lingered in the country from December 6 to 11 making numerous landfalls crossing Eastern Visayas to the Bicol Region then to Southern Tagalog until it was downgraded to a storm.