House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano may not be keen on relinquishing his post to Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco, bbut he has a ready fallback in case President Rodrigo Duterte insists on following the term sharing agreement.
Politiko’s source said Cayetano is eyeing to become the first Secretary of the soon-to-be-formed Department of Disaster Relief (DDR), the creation of which Duterte mentioned as a priority in his fifth State of the Nation Address.
The source said Cayetano was unlikely to stay in Congress under a Velasco leadership and would rather return to the Cabinet.
Duterte appointed Cayetano, his losing running mate in the 2016 elections, as Foreign Affairs Secretary in 2017. However, the Taguig lawmaker resigned in late 2018 to run for Congress.
Cayetano reportedly expressed interest in taking over the Department of Interior and Local Government, a post held by his adviser, political strategist and backroom operator Ronaldo Puno, but Secretary Eduardo M. Año has locked in on the post.
Politiko’s source said the DDR was a perfect landing spot for Cayetano, since Duterte is bent on enforcing the term sharing deal with Velasco.
The bill creating DDR was approved on third and final reading on September 21 whitle its counterpart bill was still pending in the Senate committee on national defense and security which held one committee hearing on the bill in November 2019.
The DDR will take over the role of the Office of Civil Defense as the implementing arm of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
Under the House’s version of the bill, DRR will be the primary agency “responsible, accountable, and liable for leading, managing, and organizing national efforts to prevent and reduce disaster risks; prepare for and respond to disasters; and recover, rehabilitate and build forward better after the destruction.”
The DDR may undertake and implement certain emergency measures in anticipation of, during, and in the aftermath of disasters to protect and preserve life and property and ensure and promote public safety and welfare.
Among these emergency measures include carrying out preemptive and forced evacuation; imposition of curfew; and temporary takeover of any private utility or business, subject to payment of just compensation when there is imminent danger of loss of lives or damage to property.
The proposed law also establishes the National Disaster Operations Center (NDOC), Alternative Command Centers (ACC), and Disaster Resilience Research and Training Institute (DRRTI). (With a report from PNA)