Bong Go receives support for DDR push from fellow senator Padilla

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has won the support of his colleague, fellow senator Robinhood “Robin” Padilla, who endorsed the former’s efforts to push for the passage of his bill to establish a Department of Disaster Resilience.

In an ambush interview after personally providing aid to struggling residents in Maasin City, Leyte on Thursday, 11  August, Go vowed to support all efforts and initiatives aimed at rehabilitating areas in Southern Leyte worst hit by Typhoon Odette in December last year.

“Kami naman po ni Robin, susuportahan po namin bilang senador kung ano ang makakatulong, as legislator, ‘yung makakatulong sa rehabilitation dito sa Maasin. Not only sa airport ninyo, kundi sa buong probinsya,” said Go.

Go then maintained the need for a more streamlined and holistic response to disasters and other calamities as he renewed his call for the passage of Senate Bill No. 199 which aims to establish the DDR. The said measure seeks to create a highly specialized agency that will be tasked with ensuring adaptive, disaster-resilient and safe communities.

“At ako po ay hindi titigil sa Senado na isulong po ang Department of Disaster Resilience. Kasi, tignan n’yo po, kung meron tayong departamento na nakatutok kapag may bagyo, hindi na po tayo kailangan mag-create ng task force para dito,” said Go.

“‘Yung departamento na po, tuluy-tuloy kahit na bagong administrasyon, itu-turn over na lang ng secretary sa bagong secretary ang mga rehabilitation efforts na gagawin,” he added.

The DDR will bring together all essential functions and mandates currently scattered among various disaster-related agencies. Once established, it shall be primarily responsible for implementing programs, projects and activities that shall ensure communities are disaster-resilient, adaptive and safe.

To support the DDR’s functions and responsibilities, the measure also provides for the creation of an Integrated Disaster Resilience Information System (IDRIS) which will serve as a database of all relevant disaster risk reduction and climate change information.

Moreover, the bill also provides for the establishment of a Humanitarian Assistance Action Center, a one-stop shop for the processing and release of goods, equipment and services, in order to guarantee the timely delivery of assistance to disaster-stricken areas.

It likewise provides for remedial measures for areas under a state of calamity, such as the imposition of price ceiling on basic necessities and prime commodities, programming or reprogramming of funds for the repair of public infrastructures, and grant of no-interest loans by lending institutions to vulnerable groups or individuals.

Finally, the measure establishes the National Disaster Operations Center and Alternative Command and Control Centers to monitor, manage and respond to disasters. There will also be a Disaster Resilience Research and Training Institute which will offer training and collect, manage and share information to improve the country’s resilience.

“Napakaimportante po ng cabinet secretary level kasi ‘yung respeto po, bago dumating ang bagyo, ipre-position na agad ang goods ng secretary, in coordination with LGUs (local government units) tapos ilikas kaagad ang mga kababayan natin sa ligtas na lugar,” Go further explained.

Meanwhile, Padilla, who joined Go during the visit, agreed with the establishment of the DDR when asked by the media. Additionally, he also commended Go’s approach to public service, particularly his practice of personally visiting Filipinos in crisis.

“Alam n’yo po, ang experience ko kung ikukumpara sa karanasan ni Idol Senator (Go), siguro po sa sampu, ang akin ay lima lang, kalahati lang. ‘Yung kanya po kasing experience, siya po ay nagtrabaho sa executive bukod sa legislative,” Padilla said.

“Tandaan po natin dati po siyang SAP, Special Assistant to the President. Nakita n’ya, nakasama niya ang taumbayan, harapan. Ang legislative po kasi madalas malayo kami (sa sitwasyon sa baba). Kaya kitang-kita niya kung ano ang para sa sa ating bayan,” Padilla added.

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