Cabinet-level disaster body pushed

By: Peter L. Romanillos July 17,2014 - 08:55 AM

TYPHOON Glenda failed to stop barangay captains from all over Cebu to gather for their annual convention and talk among other things –village-level disaster preparedness.

Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) Provincial Federation president Celestino “Tining” Martinez III said disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) was among the key focus in the three-day convention.

Martinez, who also sits as an ex-officio member of the Cebu Provincial Board (PB) joined Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Teofisto “TG” Guingona III in the opening ceremonies at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu City yesterday.

Cayetano said in his speech that he would still continue to push for the passage of Senate Bill 1940 that would create an Emergency Response Department that will be headed by a cabinet secretary.

He filed the bill in November last year. Under the present set-up provided by Republic Act 10121 or the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act , the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) serves as a coordinating agency for disaster preparedness, mitigation and response.

“I’m still pushing for a separate emergency response department because even if NDRRMC is ready, it just operates during times of calamity so they’re ad hoc unlike a department that could always focus.

“Rehabilitation is under Neda (National Economic Development Authority) but we know that there’s a lot of agencies involved. I went to typhoon-hit areas and the people are weary.”

“A lot of people are saying that Secretary Mar Roxas is doing his job (as DILG chief). But there’s a lot of other things he should attend to.”

“So why don’t we create a department because every single year 20 storms hit us,” Cayetano said.

Reforms

Meanwhile, Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona said he will lobby for other reforms that will benefit barangays and officials.

He said they plan to revive a bill that includes collections from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in the tax base.

He said this will lead to the rise of the national budget and increase the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share of barangays.

Aside from that, Guingona also promised to lobby for the increase of burial benefits for barangay officials who die while serving their terms. Presently, officials are entitled to a financial assistance worth P22,000.

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TAGS: Association of Barangay Councils, disaster preparedness, disaster risk reduction and management, DRMM, PB, Provincial Board, Republic Act 10121

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