Creation of disaster resilience agency possible before Christmas: Sotto
MANILA - The creation of a disaster resilience agency is possible before Christmas, Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III said Monday, following 3 earthquakes that rocked Mindanao last month and left at least 29 dead.
Sotto said the bill seeking to create the Department of Disaster Management would institutionalize the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), which is currently under the defense department.
"Very big chance, talagang kailangang kailangan eh. Malaki ang posibilidad, malaki rin ang posibilidad na mapirmahan ng President ito," Sotto told radio DZMM when asked if the passage of the measure is possible before Congress adjourns before Christmas.
The agency would coordinate local and national officials to have a "unity of command and effective collaboration," Sotto said.
"Mabilis naman siguro mapapasa ngayon 'yan sapagkat matagal nang kailangan ito, hindi nabibigyan ng pansin masyado sapagkat panaka-naka yung mga disaste rna nankikita," he said.
"Palagay ko dahil sa mga nangyayaring sunod-sunod na (lindol na) 'to, alam naman na disaster-prone ang Pilipinas eh mabibigyan na ng panahon."
The 3 quakes, whose magnitudes all measured above 6, that hit President Rodrigo Duterte's home region left at least 29 dead and sent some 28,000 people to evacuation centers, said the national disaster agency.
Aftershocks may continue to rattle Mindanao until December, state seismologists earlier said. Some local governments have declared a state of calamity to tap emergency funds.
Duterte himself proposed the creation of such agency in his third State of the Nation Address last year, citing the need to focus on risk reduction in times of natural hazards and disasters using a science-based approach.