Press Releases

Salceda okay with Zubiri proposal for disaster agency; House’s principal author of proposed DRR department says institutionalization is priority, not size of new agency

August 1st, 2022

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district), principal proponent of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) says he will support a Senate proposal for an agency under the Office of the President instead “if it pushes the law to the finish line.”

Salceda was the first author of the first version of the bill in the 17th Congress.

“SP Zubiri’s proposal is okay. I will endorse it as a compromise with my colleagues in the House, as long as it moves the bill forward towards PBBM’s desk,” Salceda said in response to Zubiri’s statement that the Senate will discuss a downscaled version of the agency creation.

Salceda earlier challenged the Senate to take the bill up and said he was more optimistic about the bill’s chances under Zubiri’s Senate Presidency.

“As long as it retains key elements, it will do.”

“The key element is the institutionalization of resilience initiatives. It can’t be ad hoc in operationalization, the way the OCD-NDRRMC relationship is”

“Another key element is proximity to the President. If it is an office under the President, it will be good. I also suggest that the Chair of the agency be a Presidential Adviser with cabinet rank so that he or she can work with the rest of the Cabinet.”

“The critical aspect will be the abolition of the NDRRMC. Instead of a council, the management of disasters must be institutional instead of collegial. As long as it is not a council but an agency, I am okay. That is my position”

“Another element would be the ability to mobilize national resources at the most crucial moments. So, control over the NDRRM Fund will be critical.”

“The ability to mobilize civil defense units such as the BFP, the Engineering Brigade of the AFP, and other units relevant for disaster response is also critical. We just need a callout provision for that.”

“You also need the ability to work closely with PHIVOLCS, PAGASA, MGB, and other disaster research and detection agencies.”

“At least now we are trying to manage the costs, but there is consensus on the principles.”

“The cabinet rank for the head is also crucial, because that will allow the head to determine the risk profile of all national priority projects.”

“The advantage of a new agency is that unlike the multiple mandates of the existing agencies, the agency can focus on continuous capacity building, leading to culture building.”

“Actually, we just filed the 3rd reading copy because it allows us to bypass certain procedures in the House. But we are ready with the amendments which we can introduce in the floor, in order to reflect the President’s position.”

Salceda was known as an expert in DRR during his term as Governor of Albay.

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