Creation of Dept of Disaster Resilience reverses gains from ‘best model’ RA 10121

By Baretang Bikolnon Staff

The Department of Disaster Resilience (DRR) bill contains provisions and mechanisms that reverse gains from RA 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act which is considered globally as “best model” legislation according to CDRC.

The Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC) Foundation, Inc. calls against the creation of DRR despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration to fast-track the passage of the administration’s bill which, this department, will focus on natural hazards and climate change.

“I urge Congress to fast-track the passage of the Administration of this bill — Administration version rather,” Duterte said during his 4th State Of the Nation Address (SONA), July 22.

“In 2017, I reminded all of you of the probable consequence of a catastrophic earthquake in Metro Manila and its surrounding provinces. Since then, I have established the Project Management Office for the Earthquake Resilience and the Greater Manila Area to implement two-pronged strategy on earthquake resilience and mitigation efforts,” Duterte added.

CDRC is a non-government organization that pioneered and continues to promote community-based disaster management in the country. For them, the conception of the DDR will not automatically translate to disaster resilience nor to effectivity and efficiency, considering the history of disharmony, lack of coordination and overlapping of jurisdictions and mandates of various agencies.

Neophyte Senator Bong Go’s DRR bill does not build on the previous gains of RA 10121 according to CDRC’s press statement. It combines disaster risk and climate change action plan and will strip the Climate Change Commission of its mandate.

“It is inconsistent with some provisions of international agreements and frameworks cited in the bill as legal basis. It compromises state obligations under international law,” CDRC added in their statement.

The bill failed to mention community-based participation which was emphasized in the sunset review of RA 10121. Community involvement is significant in end-to-end early warning and the localization of disaster risk reduction (DRR).

The DDR bill also obliges the local government units (LGUs) to buy insurance without taking into consideration the latter’s differing capacities to pay the premium and fulfill it. Local studies showed that LGUs from 4th to 6th class municipalities cannot pay premiums. The sunset review focuses on capacity building and not just risk transfer.

“This provision somewhat favors the private sector and big businesses. It does not cover the strengthening of mitigation and adaptation capacities of communities to offset potential risks and damages. It focuses on risk insurance but fails to include pre-emptive measures and an enabling environment that will reduce risks,” CDRC stated.

“Capacity building and options for risk transfer must go hand-in-hand especially in terms of communities’ capacity to decide on the best options they have. It is important to highlight and promote community-based mechanisms that are supported by capacity building with risk transfer options which are more affordable and sustainable,” CDRC added.

The bill provides that DRRM workers should have incentives however incentives are only for LDRC, NGOs and CSOs, private sector, and schools.

It does not support local efforts of DRRM workers who are at the heart of DRR. The LDRC composition is still vague, not clear, thus we cannot presume that DRRM workers will be acknowledged according to CDRC.

CDRC encourages to build on the successes and good practices of RA 10121.

“Greater participation of civil society at all levels should be emphasized to ensure that the voices of grassroots communities are heard,” CDRC stated. (BaretangBikolnon.com)

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