By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday stressed the importance of shifting from reactive to proactive when it comes to dealing with natural disasters and calamities.
Lacson, head of the Senate committee on national defense and security, said it is time that the government undertakes a prevention and mitigation stance than taking action only during the actual time of disaster.
“Prevention and mitigation na so we can prevent loss of lives, instead of being reactive, (na kung nangyari na ang disaster), that’s the only time we scramble,” Lacson said during the Senate hearing tackling the various proposals creating a separate department of disaster management.
Lacson has started committee deliberations on the various bills filed that call for the creation of a separate disaster management department that would oversee all disaster relief and rehabilitation efforts response in all levels of the government.
Several senators who filed the bill said it is high-time that the government assigns a highly specialized department that would be clearly in command and primarily responsible in ensuring safe, adaptive, and disaster-resilient communities.
Among the lawmakers who are pushing for the creation of a department of disaster and emergency management are Senators Francis Pangilinan, Grace Poe, Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, Christopher “Bong” Go, Francis Tolentino, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Pia Cayetano, Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, and Sen. Imelda “Imee” Marcos.
“Over the past several years, our country has had to contend with almost all forms of disasters, both natural and man-made,” Lacson pointed out.
“The Filipino people found hope almost 10 years ago with the passage of RA 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010,”
“Simply put, this law shifted our DRRM practices from reactive emergency and disaster response and management to pro-active disaster risk reduction and management,” said Lacson.
Lacson said at least two basic questions need to be addressed first before the Senate can consider creating a new department on disaster resilience
“One, is the creation of the department necessary? And two, is it feasible?” he pointed out.