Press Release
November 20, 2013

Surprised by the meager resources of NDRMMC

Senator Nancy Binay today vowed to help the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) in its disaster capabilities, in light with the recent natural and man-made calamities that have struck the country.

During the interpellation period of the proposed 2014 national budget, the senator was surprised and shocked with the lack of resources in the council's disposal.

Binay expressed disbelief that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had only one satellite phone dispatched in Tacloban to provide communications to the disaster relief operations. "Is it true that even the NDRRMC has no satphone?" the senator asked.

The NDRRMC also said that it has no tents and generator sets available since they are dependent upon the resources of the DND, DSWD and DOE. The council, however, said that they plan to purchase 17 satellite phones next year.

"Super Typhoon 'Yolanda' and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Central Visayas early this month exposed the country's shortness in readiness and capability to mount effective disaster response and relief operations," Binay said.

"Aside from training on readiness, we need additional equipment as well as prepositioned supplies so that we can easily and immediately respond to natural and man-made disasters," Sen. Binay said.


Binay said that the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) must review existing assets that can be used in civil defense missions.

The senator cited the conversion of the multi-billion peso budget of the Philippine Air Force that will be used to buy fighter planes and attack helicopters, adding that the amount instead can be used to boost the country's disaster response and relief capabilities and operations by converting it to a multi-use air assets.

"Disasters are a plenty in the country and we're not boosting our capability to respond quickly and efficiently. No amount of defense posturing will not change how other countries view us," Binay added.

The PhP18.9 billion (USD464 million) price tag for the 12 South Korean FA-50 fighter planes for the Philippine Air Force can be used to buy at least seven brand new C-130 cargo planes, 51 Eurocopter HH-65 Dolphin search and rescue (SAR) helicopters and one landing ship or a combination of these that can be used to boost the country's disaster response and relief capabilities and operations, according to the lady senator.

"These can either be bought brand-new or second-hand," Sen. Binay added.

The PhP3.4 billion (USD77.27 million) to be spent buying eight attack helicopters also for the PAF may be used to buy six Sea King utility helicopters that can be adapted to cargo or SAR duties in times of calamities.

The senator also said that the country needs at least one hospital ship or converted ships equipped with medical equipments that could be sent to affected areas to augment existing or standing medical facilities, especially in remote or isolated islands.

"The country's topography and scattered islands really make disaster response a tough one as well as time consuming, that is why we need more workhorses in terms of material and equipment," Sen. Binay said.

She added that concerned government agencies, particularly the Departments of National Defense and Social Welfare and Development, establish additional regional warehouses to store prepositioned supplies and equipment.

Sen. Binay said that precious time was lost in airlifting, repacking and transporting of relief materials, most of which came from Luzon, to the affected areas.

"We must also look into and adapt the disaster response protocol of other countries so that we can learn and apply the best practices," the senator said.

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