Go bats for disaster body

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has visited areas affected by the magnitude 7.0 earthquake and the destruction he witnessed only reinforced his belief that the country needs the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).

“Upon arriving in the town of Bangued last Sunday, 31 July, I and my team, together with fellow Senator Robinhood Padilla, were greeted by several destroyed houses, buildings and power lines,” Go said.

“Many residents have been driven out of their homes and snatched of their livelihoods. The provincial government, in fact, had earlier reported that 80 percent of Abra’s population was affected, leading it to place the entire province under a state of calamity.”

In Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, Go said parts of the facade of the 16th-century Vigan Cathedral have crumbled and cracks have marred some century-old ancestral houses and buildings in several other heritage sites.

Go, who has directed his team to provide necessary aid to the quake victims, said he has long been pushing for the creation of DDR.

“I have introduced this bill in the 18th Congress and once again filed it as my top priority measure in the 19th Congress because the Philippines’ experiences with natural disasters have shown that the existing laws, policies, resources and institutional arrangements governing disaster management lack responsiveness to the country’s requirements for disaster resilience,” he said.

Go also refilled his bill mandating the creation of evacuation centers in every province, city and municipality.

“We ought to make sure that affected families can take refuge in evacuation centers that are safe, dedicated and equipped with their basic necessities,” he said.

On Monday, Go said he will file a Senate resolution urging the national government to immediately restore damaged heritage sites hit by the earthquake.

“These sites are also major tourist attractions, generating income for the local inhabitants. Faster restoration of these sites will help ensure that people regain their livelihoods as soon as possible and at the same time, preserve our culture and traditions,” he said.

Last week, Go led the relief operations for 2,200 indigent residents in Manay, Davao Oriental and 12 families who were victims of a vehicular accident in Auring Village in the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte.

The senator’s team likewise extended aid to fire victims, including 34 families in Cebu City, 11 in Lapu-Lapu City, and 23 in Pasay City.

Also receiving assistance were 1,547 indigents in Moalboal, Cebu; 561 in Enrile, Cagayan; 166 in Siniloan, Laguna; 2,300 in Banaybanay and Lupon, Davao Oriental; and 216 in Dupax del Sur, Nueva Vizcaya.

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