Press Release
December 2, 2020

Bong Go says proper planning and laying down more responsive mechanisms are crucial towards disaster resilience as he pushed anew the creation of DDR

In an interview on Monday, November 30 after personally leading the distribution of emergency assistance to families hit by Typhoon Ulysses in Cavite City, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go cited that planning ahead and more responsiveness will better prepare the country from the adverse impacts of calamities and disasters.

"Dapat maging laging handa tayo. Our disaster-related measures and mechanisms must be more responsive to the changing times. Hindi lang kapag paparating ang bagyo, 'yung preparations natin dapat nakalatag na kahit wala pang sakuna upang maging mas disaster-resilient ang ating bansa," Go said.

The Senator mentioned that he and concerned Cabinet members were invited to attend a joint meeting of Cagayan Valley's Regional Development Council, Regional Peace and Order Council, and Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security for Region 2 Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III regarding the ongoing recovery and rehabilitation efforts in the area, particularly in Cagayan and Isabela.

"Sa (December 1) po ay magkakaroon kami ng pagpupulong. Inimbita po ako ni RPOC Chair Governor Manuel Mamba along with the RDC chair Gov. Rodolfo Albano. Pag-uusapan po namin ang tuloy tuloy na pagbaha sa Cagayan at Isabela. At pinakiusapan ko po ang task force created by the President, sila Secretary Cimatu, Secretary Villar and Secretary Tugade to attend as well," Go said.

"Since tuloy tuloy po ang baha, dapat planuhing mabuti dahil di natin kontrolado kelan lalakas ang ulan, so dapat maging balanse po ang pag-release ng tubig ng dams at expected rains na bubuhos sa isang lugar. Pag-aralan po yan dapat ng mabuti," he added.

Around mid-November, as Typhoon Ulysses has pummeled the country with strong winds and heavy rains, it has also caused widespread flooding in many areas in northern Luzon.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration was also reported saying that the water discharged from the Magat Dam constituted 15% only of the total volume of water that caused flood weeks ago. The remaining 85% came from the rains which passed through many other tributaries of rivers originating in the Cordillera and Sierra Madre mountain ranges.

The Senator said that if the surrounding area will still experience flooding despite the mitigating solutions, evacuation and relocation measures must be in place.

"Importante po sa akin ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino more than anything else po," he said.

Go also expressed that climate change plays a big role in the increasing intensities of calamities that affect the country.

"Climate change talaga. Ang bagyo ngayon at pagbaha, more destructive na sa panahon ngayon. Meron na talagang malaking epekto ang climate change, so di na maiwasan na lalakas pa ang mga bagyo," Go said.

The Senator said that this is why he is pushing for the establishment of the Department of Disaster Resilience through his filed bill, Senate Bill 205, a measure he filed in 2019.

"Kaya nga po pinupush ko ang DDR para mapaigting lalo ang disaster preparedness, mitigation, rehabilitation, and adaptation efforts ng bansa at maging mas well-coordinated po ang national government at LGUs," he said.

He added that he is not losing hope for the bill to pass in the Senate. Go said in the interview that the counterpart bill in the House of Representatives had already been passed last September of this year.

"Ibig sabihin, posible ito. Antayin lang natin. Maaaring marami lang ginagawa ang mga kasamahan ko sa Senado. May mga concern po sila na valid naman po, so antayin lang natin at the proper time," Go said.

"Pero di po ako titigil na magkaroon po ng isang departamento na tutok lang talaga sa mga disaster kasi di lang bagyo, pagbaha ang dumarating sa atin. May lindol at pagputok ng bulkan. At dapat may nakatutok na Cabinet secretary-level na maaaring i-tap ng Presidente at mamamahala ng coordination," he added.

Go said that with a DDR in place, concerned authorities can move as one as part of a more holistic approach to ensure that the delivery of assistance is timely, effective, and responsive towards building back better the affected communities and making the country more disaster resilient.

"Kasama na dito ang pagsasagawa ng rescue efforts, distribution ng pagkain at iba pang kailangan ng mga apektado, proper and more comprehensive planning and preparations, and more importantly, implementing policies to make the country more disaster resilient and adaptive to climate change," he explained further.

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