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FEMA for Ph

September 25th, 2022

‘Sometimes the responders are also victims:” Salceda says Karding to highlight need for national disaster agency; says coordinating council not enough for extreme events

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district), principal author of House Bill No. 48, creating the Department of Disaster Resilience, says that Typhoon Karding, which has developed into a Category 5 storm, highlights the need for a national disaster agency that can implement continuous capacity building and can mobilize external resources as “these events will surely continue to intensify in frequency and strength amid climate change.”

“One of the effects of climate change is that the storms are growing stronger. The Philippines will bear the brunt of such extreme events in the Pacific. Karding will not be the last super typhoon, and it might not even be the last just this year,” Salceda said.

Certain areas, including Polilio Islands, have already been elevated to Signal No. 5, the highest in the country’s typhoon warning signal system.

“The Eastern Seaboard, which tends to get hit by extreme weather events, also tends to have poorer provinces. Relying on local resources, or mere coordination by the national government, will not be enough. The local resources are simply not enough. And in extreme events such as supertyphoons, the local responders are also victims, and their institutions are also disrupted,” Salceda added.

“How can Polilio Islands, for example, respond to the typhoons that almost always strike them when all three municipalities in the area are 3rd or 4th class municipalities? The internal resources and capacity simply do not exist, no matter how well governed these areas are.”

“So, you need a reserve of exogenous resources for response, as well as continuing capacity development. You need an implementing agency for that. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is not an implementing agency.”

Reiterating points he made in his Keynote Speech to the National Disaster and Climate Emergency Policy Forum this week, Salceda said that the national disaster agency must bear a number of key elements.

“The agency must be able to provide exogenous resources for response and rehabilitation. It must be an implementing agency, not merely coordinating council. It must be able to provide continuous training and capacity development.”

“The emerging consensus among Senators and Congressmen is that it will be an agency under the Office of the President, and will likely be approved in this Congress.”

“It doesn’t have to be a department. As long as the head of the Office is Cabinet-rank, so he or she can work with the whole of government, and will have access to the highest levels of decision-making.”

The creation of an agency for disaster risk reduction is a priority measure of President Marcos in his first State of the Nation Address. Salceda is the principal author of the measure, which was first already approved on 3rd reading by the House of Representatives on 3rd reading in the 17th and 18th Congresses

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