Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco on Friday reiterated his call for the passage of a bill creating a government agency that would specifically deal with disasters and other calamities in the country following a strong temblor that rocked Mindanao the other day.
Velasco said there is now an immediate need for the passage of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) bill, noting that the country experiences an average of 20 tropical cyclones every year which produce floods, landslides and storm surges, on top of a string of earthquakes that strike some parts of the country.
Following a meeting with Dr. Renato Solidum of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, the Marinduque solon surmised that the Philippines is among the top countries in the world with a higher risk of disasters.
Velasco also noted that the country is host to 300 volcanoes of which 24 are active.
He said 20 earthquakes are recorded by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology everyday including some 90 destructive earthquakes and 40 tsunamis in the past 400 years.
Speaking of earthquakes, he said studies culled by Phicolcs showed that among the areas that have a higher risk of intensity-8 earthquakes are the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Rizal and Cavite.
Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Quezon, Laguna and Batangas are located in the low intensity-8 areas under the seismic map.
Following the recent 6.3 magnitude earthquake that hit Mindanao, Velasco called on his colleagues on his colleagues to pass House Bill No. 3459 entitled “An Act Creating the Department of Disaster Resilience Defining its Powers And Functions, and Appropriating Funds Therefor.”
Under the bill, the department shall be headed by a secretary, with four undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and directors who are “preferably specialists in the field of disaster risk reduction and management, science and technology, environmental science and management, urban planning, civil engineering, public finance, information and communications technology, logistics management, mass communication and other fields relevant to disaster resilience.
The department shall also establish regional, provincial, city, municipal and barangay disaster resilience offices following the abolition of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Offices.
“It’s high time that we pass this measure that would specifically deal with such calamities,” Velasco said.
“House bill 3458 is our government’s response to the Filipino people’s resiliency. We may not be able to prevent earthquakes but we could help mitigate its devastating effects,” he said.