Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Salceda’s proposed national disaster authority gains wide support
By Johnny C. Nunez

MANILA, Sept. 12 (PNA) -- Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda’s proposed measure in Congress that seeks to create an independent national authority to handle and strengthen the country’s disaster risk reduction (DRR) management system has gained wide and popular support among community-based and globally known DRR advocates and practitioners.

Salceda’s measure, House Bill No. 1648 filed last July, seeks to create the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA) that will radicalize the country’s disaster response and management system and make it “the world’s best approach to DRR.”

HB 1648 is titled “An Act Further Strengthening the Philippines Disaster Reduction and Management System by Institutionalizing the Framework and Plan and Establishing the NDRRMA, an independent body under the Office of the President dedicated to pre-disaster risk reduction and post-disaster reconstruction.” It aims to amend Republic Act No. 10121, the country’s DRR law, and further strengthen calamity response by “institutionalizing the framework and plan, with NDRRMA.”

Salceda said HB 1648 is a result of “action research, sharing of experiences and dynamic discussions among various stakeholders from national and local government agencies, organizations and communities.” He describes the bill as a “product of comparable international experiences” and is timed with the review of the performance and organizational structure of R.A. 10121 enacted in 2010.

The NDRRMA will monitor and ensure implementation of DRRRM objectives in all localities in the country, and perform oversight functions as well. The agency, Salceda added, will be equipped with the necessary competency and resources to engage new actors, particularly in the field of risk transfer and insurance, and built with the necessary structure to manage broader governance arrangements and oversee DRRM efforts towards sustainable development goals.”

Among those that have vowed to support HB 1648 is the Disaster Risk Reduction Network Philippines (DRRNetPhils), a broad group of known DRR practitioners and advocates who recently held a consultation meeting with Salceda at his office in the House of Representatives in Quezon City last Sept. 7.

DRRNetPhils is a national coalition of civil society organizations (CSOs), people’s organizations, and practitioners and advocates of community-based disaster risk reduction and management (CBDRRM) which include the Center for Disaster Preparedness; Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement; Oxfam; Coastal Core; Assistance and Cooperation for Community Resilience and Development; Damayan ng Maralitang Pilipinong Api Inc.; Plan International; UP College of Social Welfare and Community Development; and the World Vision Development Foundation Inc.

In a letter to Salceda prior to their consultation meeting, DRRNetPhils Lead Convenor Maria Felizar-Cagay has pledged support to the bill and commended the lawmaker for “being a champion and for continuously seeking ways to improve the disaster risk reduction and management system in the country.”

In line with CBDRRM’s advocacy of building resilient communities, Cagay said they have — among others — “undertaken legislative advocacies in both houses of the Philippine Congress” and supported the passage of R.A. 10121, the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010

Salceda was former governor of Albay, a province acknowledged internationally for its best practices in achieving zero casualty during disasters. He was elected as co-chair of the United Nations Green Climate Fund Board in Paris, France in 2013, the first Asian and Filipino to lead the Fund’s 24-member Board. (PNA) SCS/JCN/SGP