Press Release
February 21, 2008


In anticipation of worsening scenario in Eastern Samar , Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. urged the national government to release additional fund to intensify its disaster management and response to the said province.

The senator expressed sympathy to the more than 70,000 families or 330,000 individuals, including the casualties, affected by flashfloods and landslides in Eastern Samar as he pointed out the need to institutionalize disaster management strategies down to the barangay level.

"If the heavy rainfall and flooding will continue, expect more families and properties to be affected. Decentralizing management strategies down to the barangays would help in disaster risk reduction," Revilla said.

At least 14 people reportedly died as heavy rainfall and flooding continued to ravage Eastern Visayas and the Bicol region.

The civil defense office said the floods destroyed crops and infrastructure worth P305 million, mostly in Eastern Samar . The Eastern Samar provincial board approved on Monday night a resolution placing the entire province under a state of calamity.

The Red Cross said at least 23 people were injured when four rivers burst their banks.

Revilla said the national government should not wait for the situation in Eastern Visayas as well as in the Bicol Region to worsen before deciding to release additional fund.

"'Based on news reports, strong flood currents prevent the delivery of relief goods to far-flung villages. Even the choppers for relief operations can not fly to the area because of the bad weather, '' he said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said it is coordinating with the National Disaster Coordinating Center (NDCC) for the distribution of the more than P1 million worth of relief goods and additional assistance to the victims of the flashfloods.

Revilla pushed anew his bill that seeks to decentralize disaster management strategies down to the barangay level.

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

Under Senate Bill 2013, the NDCC 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 lawmaker 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.

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