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Bill seeking inter-LGU disaster response mechanism filed in Senate

A bill seeking to create an inter-local government unit response mechanism for disasters has been filed in the Senate.

In filing Senate Bill No. 1272, Senator Francis Tolentino, the author, said he wanted to expand the country’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Framework.

“The current framework does not cover a comprehensive action plan for LGUs with regard to evacuation and post-recovery operations, which should be at the heart of the country’s disaster response policy,” he said.

Tolentino said following the eruption of Taal Volcano last January 12, local government units should be empowered in preparing for and responding to natural disasters by facilitating a more detailed coordination framework between LGUs, which includes holding joint calamity drills, among others.

Under the bill, the inter-local government unit response mechanism will include the identification and creation of permanent evacuation centers, safe refuge zones, evacuation routes and assembly points.

It also seeks to provide for evacuation transport and accommodation of persons and animals, he said.

“Being the first responder, our LGUs must be fully equipped not just with proper training, but also a comprehensive plan that they will use in case of emergency cases like the sudden eruption of Taal Volcano which caught everyone by surprised,” he added.

Tolentino also said the bill grants local government units with the power to occupy or use private or commercial buildings as evacuation centers or safe zones, subject to compensation by the LGU or the national government in case of the former’s inability to pay.                                                                                

“The State must exert all efforts to address against calamities, both natural and man-made, to save not only lives of the citizens in disaster stricken areas but that of the future generations,” he added. —Amita Legaspi/KBK, GMA News