Press Release
November 2, 2020

Drilon rejects creation of Dep't of Disaster Resilience
The minority leader instead urges better planning and coordination among agencies involved in disaster management

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon is opposed to a proposal to create a new department that will focus solely on disaster management, calling it a "knee-jerk reaction" that will further bloat the already bloated bureaucracy.

"I do not see the need for a full department only for disaster resilience. I believe that an overall plan on the number of departments should be in place, instead of a 'knee-jerk' push for a creation of certain departments," Drilon said in a text message to reporters on Monday.

"If it ain't broke, why fix it?" he added.

A bill creating the Department of Disaster Resilience already hurdled the House of Representatives last September. The bill is now pending before the Senate committee on national defense.

Drilon said what needs to be strengthened is the coordination and planning between and among agencies involved in government's disaster response, including a timely access to disaster funds by local government units which are at the forefront of disaster management.

"The challenge remains on the planning and better coordination," he said.

"There is already an established system with the NDRRMC and the OCD at the forefront. We do not see an urgent need to change it through the creation of a new department and by appointing a new secretary, undersecretaries and assistant secretaries," he said.

The Senate chief fiscalizer also said creating a new department will needlessly increase the bureaucracy, instead of streamlining it.

"A new department will mean new offices for undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, bureaus and regional offices, with corresponding support staff and additional maintenance and other operating expenses. The Personnel Services budget today already constitutes at least one third of the national budget," he stressed.

For 2021, the budget for personnel service is set at P1.316 trillion, up by 11.1 percent from P1.184 trillion this year, he noted.

"I believe that numerous national agencies and GOCCs now have duplicating functions and should be rationalized before we start creating new offices or departments," Drilon added.

Drilon recalled that when the Duterte administration came to power, then Budget Secretary and now Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno pushed for a rationalization of the bureaucracy.

Drilon also questioned the planned creation of a new department to address overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) concerns.

"There are also proposals to create departments for OFW, for culture, etc. And yet, the Department of Agrarian Reform, whose mandate has been achieved and whose functions can be performed now by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, has not been abolished and continues to be funded by an annual budget of hundreds of millions," Drilon said.

Drilon earlier expressed concerns that the creation of a new department for overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) would expose the P19 billion OFW trust fund to the "sticky hands of politicians."

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