Press Release
October 22, 2015

Cayetano calls for real change in disaster response; pushes
for creation of a dedicated relief and rehab agency

In light of the onslaught of Typhoon Lando in Northern Luzon, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano pressed on the need to institutionalize a round-the-clock disaster preparedness and response system that will take the place of the country's current setup.

Speaking in a media forum in Kamuning, Quezon City on Wednesday, Cayetano said by now, the government should already consider creating a single, unified department that will spearhead its disaster risk reduction and management efforts.

"Nakita natin after [super typhoon] Yolanda na ang disaster and risk management and reduction ay hindi pwedeng ad-hoc. Hindi pwedeng kapag may bagyo tiyaka ka kikilos, kailangan, all throughout the year ay may mga tao na ito lang ang trabaho. [Moreover] hindi pwedeng relief lang ang gawin ng gobyerno, kailangan may rehabilitation din," he stressed.

Cayetano noted that the National Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), the country's current disaster risk and reduction agency, could not execute these full-time tasks since it is composed of several departments that carry out different responsibilities and mandates.

The senator, for his part, filed Senate Bill No. 1940 in 2013 which seeks to institute an "Emergency Response Department" (ERD) that will be headed by a Cabinet Secretary, will manage all disaster preparedness and response activities, and will allocate more funds for the execution of such tasks.

"Under the ERD, may isang head lang, and wala siyang gagawin 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the year, kung hindi asikasuhin at ayusin lang ang disaster prevention, relief, and rehabilitation projects ng gobyerno," Cayetano said.

"Kailangan ang mga solusyon sa problema ng bansa ay magbibigay ng tunay na pagbabago, kailangan ang solusyon natin is akma sa ating kultura. At ang kultura natin, kapag wala kang head, walang accountable, walang mangyayari, magpapasahan lang at magtuturuan," he added.

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