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Vargas: Mindanao quake shows urgency of new disaster resilience department

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With the latest earthquake striking Mindanao, Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas on Friday reiterated that it is high time to expedite the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).

Vargas, vice chairman of the House committee on appropriations, noted that the Philippines is “highly exposed to natural calamities and hazards,” and thus needs an “independent department that will urgently oversee the disaster and climate resilience plans and programs of the government.”

Vargas is the author of House Bill 2001 or an Act Creating the Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management.

To be known as Disaster Resiliency and Alertness Management (DReAM) Department Bill, the proposed law aims to task the new government agency with strengthened coordination in terms of preparation, implementation of its resiliency programs, and monitoring and evaluation of disaster and climate resilience plans and activities.

Vargas made the statement on the heels of the magnitude 6.3 earthquake in Mindanao that killed at least five people and left dozens injured.

The deaths include a child in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao; and three others, including a mother and her infant, in Magsaysay town, Davao del Sur.

The earthquake, which was tectonic in origin, struck Tulunan, Cotabato, at around 7:37 pm at a depth of 8 kilometers. The United States Geological Survey, meanwhile, recorded the earthquake at magnitude 6.4.

“It’s about time to have this DReAM. This DReAm will equip the country with institutional capacity for disaster preparedness and emergency management, and build the resilience of local communities to disasters, natural or man-made, including climate change impacts,” Vargas stressed.

He joined other sectors in extending concerns and prayers to the people of Mindanao who have lost their loved ones and hard-earned properties.

“My prayers are with all who have suffered in this earthquake. I deeply pray that the suffering should be over at the earliest. We Filipinos are very resilient and I am confident normal lives will resume at the soonest,” Vargas said.

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