Press Release
February 19, 2008


To further address calamity problems that the country regularly faces just like the present situation of Eastern Samar , Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. filed a bill that seeks to decentralize disaster management strategies down to the barangay level.

According to the senator, it is high time that the 1,882 barangays in the country directly be part of national government's effort on disasters and calamities.

Revilla cited the present situation of Eastern Samar which was placed under state of calamity after massive flooding caused by continuous heavy rains hit the province and left five people, including a child, dead.

He stressed the importance of his bill due to the country's geographic location which makes it prone to natural hazards such as typhoons, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

"The Philippines is in the western rim of the Pacific Ocean , a most active portion of the earth that is occupied by an ocean-encircling belt of active volcanoes and earthquake generators. Earthquakes occur every now and then. There are twenty two potentially active volcanoes in the country. We experience an average of twenty two typhoons per year, with at least five destructive ones," Revilla pointed out.

Under Senate Bill 2013, the present National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) which was established under Presidential Decree (PD) 1566 shall be known as the National Disaster Management Council (NDMC).

Unlike the present set up where the NDCC's budget are allocated from the Office of the President's resources, the NDMC will have its own annual fund under the General Appropriations Act.

Instead of the Local Government Units (LGUs) having the prerogative to create and fund Barangay Disaster Coordinating Council in its jurisdiction, the NDMC will be the one who will establish barangay-based disaster management groups which will be called as Barangay Disaster Management Councils (BDMCs). The BDMC will be funded by the annual budget of the NDMC.

The BDMC shall be composed of the punong barangay as chairman and organic barangay officials and leaders of people's organization as members. It will have its own office and staff.

"We should now institutionalize disaster management in the country down to the barangay level. This would result to a more expeditious and coordinated response to calamities and disasters. This could lessen the number of casualties and damage to properties," Revilla explained.

The lawmaker said the government must recognize the importance of understanding risk patterns and the need to decentralize responsibilities and resources for disaster risk reduction to regional and local authorities.

"We must encourage participation of non-government organizations, private sector, community-based organizations and community members in disaster risk management and response. This will ensure a unified and integrated efforts as well as complementation of resources in this regard," he added.

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