By Francis Wakefield
Defense Secretary and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Chairperson Delfin N. Lorenzana said that he strongly supports the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).
In a statement, the DND Public Affairs Service said Secretary Lorenzana also expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for immediately heeding the call of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
Recognizing that the Philippines experiences hazards, both natural and human-induced year after year, and noting that our country has made milestones in protecting its citizens and preserving life and property, Secretary Lorenzana believes that the creation of the DDR will be another monumental step in furthering the government’s efforts in building safer, adaptive, and resilient Filipino communities.
The DND PAS also said Secretary Lorenzana also envisions a department that will lead, organize, and manage the national effort to reduce disaster risk, prepare for and respond to disasters, recover and rehabilitate, and build forward better after the occurrence of disasters.
“The SND/CNDRRMC affirms the creation of a full-blown department, taking under its wing necessary offices to enhance systematic integration of functions, implementation of programs, activities, and projects, and resource and information-sharing,” the DND PAS said.
“It shall have Disaster Resilience Funds and emergency powers and measures to ensure the proper discharge of its functions, prioritizing the protection and welfare of the people,” it added.
It was recalled that President Duterte, in his 2018 State of the Nation Address (SONA), said that he wants a “truly empowered department characterized by a unity of command, science-based approach and full-time focus on natural hazards and disasters, and the wherewithal to take charge of disaster risk reduction; preparedness and response; with better recovery and faster rehabilitation.”
Secretary Lorenzana said that the swift action of the House of Representatives shows the urgency of this legislative measure.
He also expressed his gratitude to Representative Xavier Jesus D Romualdo, chair of the House Committee on Government Reorganization, Representative Amado T Espino Jr, Chair of the House Committee on National Defense and Security, Representative Joey S. Salceda and the co-authors for making this initiative a priority.
He also thanks the private sector for its support to this measure.