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Bicolano solon calls for approval of Disaster Resilience department

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A Bicolano lawmaker is calling for the approval of a separate department for disaster resilience amid the onslaught of Typhoon Odette in several parts of Visayas and Mindanao.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda called for the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) saying that “nowhere in the Philippines can now be considered safe from natural disasters with climate change” as Typhoon Odette strikes regions “not usually visited by typhoons.”

Salceda is the principal author of the measure creating the agency. His term as governor was also the model that the measure is based upon.

“Northern Mindanao and Central Visayas aren’t areas that are used to typhoons. Bicol and the Waray region are. As a result, they are structurally and culturally as used to typhoon preparations as Bicol and Eastern Visayas are,” said the solon.

“This emphasizes the fact that we can no longer say that one area of the country is typhoon-proof. The climate has changed. Our strategies for dealing with disasters must change too,” he added.

Salceda added that the country’s disaster strategies are “extremely local.”

“The national government supports, but the inter-local mechanisms that only a national cabinet agency can muster are not yet there,” he added.

He noted that the disaster risk reduction and management councils are locally segmented, but stressed that disasters do not respect LGU boundaries.

“You really need a national agency,” Salceda said.

The House has already approved the bill creating the Department of Disaster Resilience, but the measure is still pending in the Senate.