National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive director Ricardo Jalad expressed apprehension Monday on the creation of a department that will handle the country’s disaster resilience and management efforts.
In his opening speech during the Senate hearing on the proposal, Jalad described the proposed department as overwhelming.
“Having a department with all the functions regarding the disaster risk reduction and management specifically prevention and preparedness, response and rehabilitation, recovery, response, placing all these functions in one department is very overwhelming,” he said.
He said there is no such department in other countries.
“What I saw in different models that I observed, even in advanced countries, they don’t have some sort of national disaster risk reduction and management department. What they have are emergency management agency wherein we have the urgency to consolidate all efforts regarding emergency management of the different government agencies,” he said.
“The question is do we need a department for disaster risk reduction and management? Again, that is very overwhelming. We might have a problem with capacity of that department to function, all those responsibilities are across the thematic areas of the disaster risk reduction and management,” he added.
He proposed that the central body that will be created may be an authority outside of any of the control of the existing departments and can be placed directly under the Office of the President.
Senators explained that the main purpose of the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience is to address the overwhelming functions which is the concern of Jalad.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri expressed doubt that the Cabinet is listening intently to the Office of the Civil Defense which is the lead agency of NDRRMC.
Jalad is the administrator of OCD.
“Nakikinig ba ang Cabinet sa inyo? Hindi, sa totoo lang. May Cabinet position ba sila? Wala. We have to come up with something out of the box, a drastic measure. This was mentioned by the President as a priority measure. Is your position contrary to the President?” said Zubiri. — RSJ, GMA News