Press Releases

Passage of Department of Disaster Resilience atop Salceda’s wishlist for ’22; House tax chair and DRR champion wants a National Emergency Management Agency

December 24th, 2021

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) says that the passage of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) as a full-time, cabinet-level agency is atop his list of immediate legislative priorities for 2022.

The principal author of the measure creating a DDR says that “disaster risk reduction is both a human dignity and a socioeconomic development issue. For the New Year, I hope Congress, particularly the Senate, where the measure is still pending, can affirm the need to save lives and livelihoods from being particularly vulnerable to disasters.”

Salceda adds that the cost of disasters sets the country back from achieving ‘rapid and sustained economic development.’

“The annual cost of natural disasters to the Philippine economy is historically anywhere between 2.5% to 5% of GDP. This is one of the largest causes of our growth overhang, or the difference between our potential annual GDP growth rate, and the actual growth rate we achieve,” Salceda said.

“Although storms are getting stronger, much of DRR is a matter of adaptation and resilience. Most natural disasters are cyclical. For example, we know that the final months of the year also tend to produce the strongest storms. We should thus have been able to better prepare for Odette, which was indeed the strongest storm of 2021,” Salceda added.

“Predictable cyclicality means we can actually anticipate disasters broadly even when, in the case of Odette, the situation develops rapidly,” Salceda also explained.

House tax chair hopes Senate will pass DDR next year

Salceda says that he hopes the Senate will pass the bill creating the Department of Disaster Resilience before the 18th Congress adjourns in June 2022.

“Odette bared the weaknesses of very local planning and mitigation. You really need a national agency permanently manning disaster response. It’s something of an insurance policy. We pool the risks among different regions, who are able to draw from national resources when some of them get struck by a calamity that is beyond their own means to address,” Salceda said.

“The presumption is, when a locality gets hit by something devastatingly large, even their own resources will probably have been affected. So, we need an agency that consistently facilitates the exchange of resources among localities and between the local and national levels,” Salceda also said.

“You need a National Emergency Management Agency, and the DDR will be this agency. As with the Department of OFWs, which I also principally authored and helped write as TWG chair, and which PRRD is set to finally sign into law just after Christmas, I am confident that we can make one last push for this measure,” Salceda added.

“It’s atop my New Year’s wishes.” (end)

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