LEGAZPI CITY, June 17 (PNA) -- It's about time to separate the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and make it a separate agency that will focus on the program of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda said Friday.
Salceda said one of the bills that he will submit to Congress this July once he formally assumes office as congressman of the 2nd District of Albay is to detach the OCD from the NDRRMC and make it a new agency to be called the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
He noted that present, the OCD is held back in the implementation of its programs, especially in responding to the onslaught of various calamities like typhoon because it does not have its own disaster fund, has no mobile equipment to be used in disaster response, lacks personnel and other problems.
The outgoing Albay governor, a climate change adaptation expert, said that if the OCD becomes a real agency, it will have its own budget, office, personnel, facilities, and equipment.
"It is important that OCD has its own budget, especially for disaster fund, so that it will no longer rely on other agencies to speed up response to any form of approaching calamity," he said.
Salceda said that through the NDMA, the release of disaster fund would be expedited for immediate preparation for the coming calamity, unlike the present practice that the funding comes out only after a calamity.
"Under this proposed new agency, officials can give more attention to the disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation like what Albay is doing now," he said.
The new agency should study and prepare a comprehensive land use and relocation plan for the entire country and study how to fight different big calamities like the dreaded sea level rise and other disasters brought about by global warming and climate change.
It should study and plan for the relocation of coastal residents and provision of livelihood to affected fishermen.
Salceda said that based on his own study as a climate change champion, disaster comes and happens faster than expected in many places because no one moves to fight it. (PNA) LAP/FGS/JH/cbd