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Lorenzana wants Office of Civil Defense converted to FEMA-like body

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Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has assured that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will continue to assist the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in case it is transformed into a department mandated to handle disaster situations.

During a media briefing late Thursday, Lorenzana noted the need to turn the OCD into a department as the Philippines was frequently visited by typhoons and other calamities.

He said the AFP could assist a newly created department in its disaster mitigation tasks as the military has sufficient equipment to deal with any contingency.

The House of Representatives is discussing the proposal to transform the OCD into a department and a law calling for the conversion can be expected soon, Lorenzana said.

With the proposal, the OCD is expected to function like the US Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has the sole authority to mobilize all government assets to respond to natural and man-made calamities.

Under the present setup, the OCD is under the supervision of the Department of National Defense (DND). (PNA)