Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Monday opposed a proposal to create a new department that will focus solely on disaster management, calling it a “knee-jerk reaction” that will further bloat the already bloated bureaucracy.
“I do not see the need for a full department only for disaster resilience. I believe that an overall plan on the number of departments should be in place, instead of a ‘knee-jerk’ push for a creation of certain departments,” he said in a text message to reporters.
“If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” he added.
A bill creating the Department of Disaster Resilience already hurdled the House of Representatives last September. The bill is now pending before the Senate committee on national defense.
Drilon said what needs to be strengthened is the coordination and planning between and among agencies involved in government’s disaster response, including a timely access to disaster funds by local government units which are at the forefront of disaster management.
“The challenge remains on the planning and better coordination,” he said.
“There is already an established system with the NDRRMC and the OCD at the forefront. We do not see an urgent need to change it through the creation of a new department and by appointing new secretary, undersecretaries and assistant secretaries,” he said.
Drilon also said creating a new department will needlessly increase the bureaucracy, instead of streamlining it.
“A new department will mean new offices for undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, bureaus and regional offices, with corresponding support staff and additional maintenance and other operating expenses. The Personnel Services budget today already constitutes at least one third of the national budget,” he stressed.
For 2021, the budget for personnel service is set at P1.316 trillion, up by 11.1 percent from P1.184 trillion this year, he noted.
“I believe that numerous national agencies and GOCCs now have duplicating functions and should be rationalized before we start creating new offices or departments,” Drilon added.