By Ben Rosario
Two former Malacañang officials now seeking senatorial posts vowed to fast-track two vital legislative proposals aimed at making the country more resilient and prepared for natural and man-made disasters.
Former presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino and former special assistant to the president Christopher “Bong” Go have included the creation of the Department of Disaster Resiliency (DDR) and amendments to the National Building Code of the Philippines (NBCP) part of their legislative priorities in the Senate.
Tolentino, dubbed as the country’s anti-disaster czar and former chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority, said the threat of the Big One has made the review and amendment of the NBCP a very important legislative assignment in Congress.
He said the amendment of the building code was necessary to ensure the structural integrity of establishments and their resiliency should an earthquake hit Metro Manila.
The country experienced last week a series of tremors in different parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
The introduction of new construction industry technology that would ensure tougher and earthquake resilient structures can be adopted as new provisions of the NBCP that was last amended over 10 years ago.
Periodic and graft-free inspection of private and public infrastructure and buildings will also be vital provisions that may be included in the NBCP.
Tolentino has also proposed the creation of a unified agency that would take care of all government actions aimed at addressing disaster preparedness and mitigation programs.
Together with Tolentino, Go said the damaging effects of climate change and earthquake can be reduced with the creation of a unified disaster resiliency agency.
Go noted that President Rodrigo Duterte was fully supportive of the creation of a Department of Disaster Resiliency, pointing out that this was part of the chief executive’s legislative agenda that he wanted Congress to pursue.
Go said the recent spate of earthquakes and the current drought triggered by the El Nino phenomenon now calls for stronger and integrated government action aimed at making Filipinos prepared to avoid loss of lives and damage to property.
Go and Tolentino are among the senatorial candidates that President Duterte has strongly endorsed. Both are also members of the 13-man senatorial line up that is being backed by the influential Hugpong ng Pagbabago regional party chaired by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte. #MatalinongBoto2019