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Villanueva defends proposed creation of Department of Disaster Resilience

Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva on Thursday reiterated his support for the creation of the proposed Department on Disaster Resilience (DDR) as he rejected criticisms that it would be “redundant” to the existing disaster management bodies.

“We feel that when you talk about disaster management, nakikita namin na ito ay napakaimportante (We see that it is very important),” Villanueva told reporters in an interview during his visit to oil spill-stricken Oriental Mindoro.

“Ito ay hindi redundant sapagkat may ilang units of government offices na andyan na pwede mong dalhin at pag-isahin para nakapokus tayo,” he said.

(This is not redundant because there are other government offices that we can merge into a single body to focus on a specific goal.)

Villanueva also explained the establishment of the specialized department would not go against President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s push for rightsizing, adding the restructuring was meant to make the bureaucracy “more efficient”.

"Ang rightsizing means you evaluate the system of the government. One department, for instance, may mga redundancy, pwede mo i-collapse into one office. Pwedeng magdagdag ka pa nga. Yan ang rightsizing, to be more efficient," the senator said.

(Rightsizing means you evaluate the system of the government. If one department, for instance has redundancy, you can collapse it into one office. You can also add offices to be more efficient.)

“We will be more efficient because we are a country na ilang bagyo ang tumatama sa atin every year. (that hurdles several storms every year). Tapos itong mga nararanasan natin (We are also experiencing it now) whether it's natural or man-made, we have to be prepared. The only way to do that is we have our very own department so I am for it,” he added.

The Philippines is among the countries hardest hit by natural disasters in the last 20 years, with weather effects exacerbated by climate change.

In July 2022, Marcos expressed support for a proposed measure that would create the DDR, following the strong earthquake that hit northern Luzon.

A proposed bill seeking the agency’s creation was filed in the Senate while two panels at the House of Representatives started deliberations on the proposed measures in February. —VAL, GMA Integrated News