When the bill proposing the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience was deliberated on during the 17th Congress, I consistently opposed its passage and voted against it on third and final reading in the House, for the following reasons:
Another such Department will only create an unnecessary layer in the bureaucracy;
It would balloon expenses for personnel, MOOE, and capital outlay which could be used for more immediate needs and requirements, particularly now during the pandemic and for rescue and relief operations during calamities, just like the devastation wrought by Supertyphoon Rolly in Albay and Catanduanes;
Existing government agencies like the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) are effectively performing on disaster prevention, mitigation, management and rehabilitation, and should be allocated more funds as existing agencies without the need for creating a new Department; and
In most countries, there are no separate Departments for disaster resilience and response. For example, in Japan an ad hoc committee is created headed by the Prime Minister, as needed, in response to particular calamities. In Thailand, there is a department of disaster prevention and mitigation under the larger Ministry of Interior. In Singapore, it is the Singapore Civil Defence Force, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is in charge of disaster resilience.
My opposition to the creation of this Department is steadfast and continuing despite the havoc wreaked by Supertyphoon Rolly in the First District of Albay.
EDCEL C. LAGMAN