Department of Disaster Resilience Bill passes House committee level

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – A bill seeking to create a Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) has been approved at the committee level of the House of Representatives.

The House committees on government reorganization and disaster management approved on Wednesday the still unnumbered bill that would create an agency to handle disaster management.

It can be recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte, during his fourth State of the Nation Address, called on Congress to pass measures creating new agencies, including the DDR.

The measure provides for the creation of the DDR, which shall serve as the primary government agency responsible for leading, organizing and managing 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 department will also oversee and coordinate the preparation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of disaster and climate resilience plans, programs, projects, and activities; and provide leadership in the continuous development of strategic and systematic approaches to disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery, and rehabilitation.

The agency will be headed by a secretary, supported by four undersecretaries responsible for the following key result areas: disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness and response, recovery and building forward better, and support to operations.

According to Albay Second District Representative Joey Salceda, one of the main proponents of the bill, the new department would need an initial budget of P10 billion from the national budget.

The measure also states that the DDR shall have a Disaster Resilience Fund, which shall consist of the Annual General Appropriations, the Disaster Contingency Fund, and the Rehabilitation and Recovery Fund to properly implement its provisions.

After hurdling the committee level, the measure will be referred to the House Committee on Rules for the schedule of its plenary deliberation.

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