“The Young senator from Ilocos wants to know from government how best to institutionalise disaster and relief response both national and local”
Though more than 150,000 Filipinos are still living in relief and evacuation centers throughout the Visayas created as a relief response against Typhoon Ruby, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wants to call officials of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in a bid to institutionalize disaster response and relief of the government.
In his privilege speech today at the Senate, Sen. Bongbong introduced Senate resolution number 1056 which seeks to institutionalize disaster and relief response protocols both in the national as well as local levels. Though Marcos cited the recent successful evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people prior to the onslaught of Typhoon Ruby, the young senator from the Ilocos still sees the need to fine-tune the council’s response systems to be able to prevent the loss of lives.
Marcos, who chairs the Senate’s committee on local government, says that government response in Ruby was an improvement compared with that of Yolanda. Thousands of people were killed from Yolanda while less than 50 people fell victim to Ruby. Sen.Bongbong says this could have been prevented further had the people knew of the protocols for disaster response being undertaken by NDRRMC.
“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,” he adds.
Citing Republic Act 10121 creating the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, which crafted the implementing guidelines for disaster risk reduction and management plan for 2011 to 2028, Marcos said there is need for NDRRMC to inform the people about the implementation of the law and other related issuances on DRRM programs, plans and strategies and best practices to reduce losses to lives and properties.
Equally important, he said, is for NDRRMC to inform the people of significant problem areas and other important concerns, which cut across several sectors covered by NDRRMC for the ultimate purpose of improving laws, plans, programs and strategies, as well as concerned institutions, on aspects of rehabilitation, reconstruction and recovery, especially the lessons learned from Yolanda in November 2013, which remains a work in progress.
He is calling upon the NDRRMC and the Office of Civil Defense to report to the Senate about the implementation of RA 10121 and other related issuances in relation to super typhoons Ruby and Yolanda for the purpose of improving existing legislation and institutions and in ensuring the continued survival and safety of the citizenry, communities and the entire nation. He added that the quest continues for a comprehensive, effective and efficient DRRM and response plan in accordance with RA 10121 and to codify and institutionalize them.
Marcos said the NDRRMC’s report that 1,766,929 people were evacuated in Ruby led to the declaration by the United Nations International Strategies for Disaster Reduction/Office for Disaster Risk 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.