THE Senate hearings on the proposed law to create the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) failed to attract key resource persons from various government agencies, a committee chairman said.
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, who chairs the Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation, said key resource persons did not turn up.
“The Senate Committee on Defense and Security, which I chair, has conducted a hearing which unfortunately did not elicit interest from the different stakeholders,” Mr. Lacson told reporters in a mobile phone message Monday.
“NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) especially SND (Secretary of National Defense) and SILG (Secretary of Interior and Local Government), chair and co-chair did not attend.”
Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III said Mr. Lacson proposed instead to create a National Disaster Office, which he is inclined to support.
“Office, if given a choice. Department will involve regional office and personnel,” Mr. Sotto said in a separate phone message.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri backs the creation of the DDR in light of recent calamities.
“Given how many natural disasters hit the nation every year, it is absolutely necessary for us to bring disaster resilience up to the level of the Cabinet,” Mr. Zubiri said in a privilege speech, Monday.
“The creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience will also emphasize the need to pre-empt disasters, and not just respond to them.”
The creation of the DDR was among the bills mentioned by President Rodrigo R. Duterte during his fourth State of the Nation Address. Its counterpart measure in the House of Representatives has so far been approved in committee. — Charmaine A. Tadalan