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MANILA – Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Monday called on the Senate to prioritize the passage of a bill creating the Department of Disaster Resilience (DRR) as Typhoon Quinta battered different parts of Luzon.

“We earnestly urge our counterparts in the Senate to pass their own version so we can subsequently work on the enrolled bill to be sent to President Duterte’s desk for his signature,” Velasco said.

The House of Representatives approved the bill on third and final reading last September 21. The measure is now awaiting deliberations in the Senate.

Velasco, one of the authors and sponsors of the bill, said a department that deals specifically with disaster response and management is urgently needed, considering that the Philippines is frequented by typhoons and located along the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Velasco said the creation of the DDR will help the country in mitigating the devastating effects of natural disasters, especially amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“The creation of a Department of Disaster Resilience allows us to be constantly prepared and well-equipped when natural disasters occur. This will enable other Departments to put all their focus and efforts in helping the country recover from Covid-19,” Velasco said.

The bill seeks to establish the DDR as the primary government agency that will lead, organize and manage the national effort to reduce disaster risk, prepare for, and respond to disasters, and lead in recovery and rehabilitation efforts.

Velasco, meanwhile, said he is currently coordinating efforts to rehabilitate his home province, Marinduque, in the typhoon’s aftermath

“We assure Marinduqueños that relief efforts are underway, and that we are working closely with the Provincial Government in the recovery and rehabilitation of Marinduque,” he said.

The Speaker has also coordinated with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) so that assistance and immediate relief operations may be extended to other areas hit by the typhoon. (PNA)

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