Press Release
February 18, 2010


Legazpi, Albay- Senator Bong Revilla today said the reduction of threat to persons, damage to property, casualties and disruption is possible in the Bicol region by bringing the disaster management to the barangay level.

In an interview with the senator, he noted that floods, landslides, earthquakes, typhoons, drought, volcanic eruptions and other biological hazards are consistently plaguing the Bicol's six provinces - Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon.

"Whenever a natural catastrophe hits the region, it disrupts the people's lives and hampers its economic growth. We cannot do anything about it, but we can reduce or possibly eliminate the hazards by decentralizing disaster management strategies," he said.

The natural disaster-prone Bicolandia has inspired the senator to formulate a bill that will require the participations of the government agencies, local government units, non-government organizations, barangays and individuals for disaster reduction measures.

Under Revilla's Disaster Management Bill, the present National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) shall be known as the National Disaster Management Council (NDMC). Instead of the Local Government Units (LGUs) having the prerogative to create and fund Barangay Disaster Coordinating Council (BDMC) in its jurisdiction, the NDMC shall be the one which will establish barangay-based disaster management groups - BDMCs. The BDMC will be funded by the annual budget of the NDMC.

"It requires the active participation of barangays because they have identified and understood the risk patterns in their communities. They have the skills, knowledge and innovative practices in responding to natural disasters that hit their localities; all we have to do is to strengthen and support them in terms of fund," the senator explained.

Damages in property and infrastructure caused by typhoon Dante last year reached to P1 billion. It claimed 27 lives due to a landslide in Sorsogon and more than 40,000 families in 369 villages in Catanduanes, Albay, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte were displaced. Also last year, damages in Bicol caused by typhoon Pepeng reached to P56 million. Last December, about 50,000 Albay villagers were displaced due to the threat of major eruption of Mt. Mayon. "Bicolanos are no stranger to these catastrophes. Unfortunately, we experience setback after setback when disasters strike. I believe that the presence of disaster risk is not a hindrance for economic development. Proper disaster management is the key," concluded Revilla, who extended help to 700,553 families affected by calamities through his Kaagapay sa Araw ng Pangangailangan relief assistance programs.

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