Senator Win Gatchalian has filed a resolution calling for an inquiry that will review the impact and effectiveness of the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 (Republic Act 10121).
The lawmaker highlighted the urgency of the inquiry considering that implementation drawbacks and other shortcomings still exist during and after disasters, which is evident in the devastating effects of Taal Volcano’s activity and the government response that followed.
According to the World Risk Report, the Philippines ranked 3rd in 2018 among 172 countries and ranked 9th in 2019 among 180 countries in terms of disaster risk. Gatchalian stressed the importance of addressing the root causes of vulnerabilities to disasters since the country is exposed to multiple hazards, such as typhoons, earthquakes, flooding, drought and volcanic eruption, among others, due to its geographic location.
“Halos sampung taon na ang lumipas simula nang maisabatas ang Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, ngunit marami pa ring mga kakulangan sa ating sistema na kailangang bigyan ng pansin,” Gatchalian said.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that as of January 20, a total of 53,716 families in the provinces of Batangas, Quezon, Laguna, and Cavite have been affected by Taal’s eruption. Almost thirty thousand of them are now in evacuation centers.
Approximately 21,000 children remain in the 14-kilometer danger zone, according to the organization ‘Save the Children’. The NDRRMC also reported that agriculture damage already reached more than P3.2 billion.
“Nais nating maisagawa itong pagdinig hindi para magturo kung sino ang mga may pagkukulang sa pagsabog ng Taal at sa mga nagdaang sakuna. Ang ating layunin ay malaman kung paano natin lalong mapapalakas ang ating sistema ng pag-responde sa panahon ng kalamidad,” said Gatchalian.
Meanwhile, Gatchalian has also filed in July 2019 Senate Bill No. 746 (SBN 746) or An Act Expanding the Application of The Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund which proposes to use the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF) in funding infrastructure projects designed to mitigate the effects of natural disasters. The bill will also allow Local Government Units (LGUs) to use the LDRRMF to pay for obligations incurred in funding projects related to disaster preparedness and mitigation.