Press Release
July 9, 2023

Bong Go pushes anew for his Disaster Resilience bill as world experts fear Earth's climate is nearing point of no return

After government climate representatives met early June in Bonn, Germany ahead of the yearly climate talks in November when a thinktank reported that climate change in the world has reached a point of no return after land and sea temperatures broke records, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, member of the Senate Committee on the Environment, pushes anew for the approval of his proposed Senate Bill No. 188 or the Disaster Resilience bill.

World climate experts believe that the 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) threshold is becoming difficult to be sustained, sparking fears that the world has reached the point where it may be difficult to reverse the increasing warming of the Earth's surface air and sea temperatures. The European Union-funded Copernicus Climate Change Service reported that the average surface air temperatures worldwide exceeded the 1.5C pre-industrial levels for several days already. Records for the global sea temperatures were also shattered in April and May this year.

"About time na magkaroon na tayo ng isang Department of Disaster Resilience, kung hindi man ma-improve pa ang current National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. NDRRMC is a mere coordinating body. Iba talaga pag merong isang Cabinet secretary that has the command---from prepositioning to actual relief until rehabilitation," said Go.

"Sa totoo lang, dahil sa lumalalang climate change plus sa ating geographical location sa Pacific Ring of Fire, mas nagiging prone ang bansa natin sa mga kalamidad. Typhoons and other disasters are getting stronger, more destructive and more frequent. Kaya kailangan natin i-scale up ang resiliency," he added.

The bill is pending committee hearing by the Senate Committee on National Defense.

"Kadalasan, pag merong kalamidad, katulad ng bagyo, baha, lindol, buhawi, ang pinakaapektado ay ang mga mahihirap nating mga kababayan. Sila yung walang ibang malalapitan kundi ang gobyerno lang," Go also said.

"Dapat bago pa dumating ang bagyo, mayroon na hong makikipag-coordinate sa local government units, preposition of goods at ilikas po ang mga kababayan natin sa ligtas na lugar. At pag-alis ng bagyo, restoration of normalcy kaagad, maibalik kaagad sa normal ang pamumuhay ng mga kababayan natin. 'Yan po ang layunin ng Department of Disaster Resilience. Minsan kasi, task force ang binubuo lang natin. New administration, new direction ng task force, kung andyan pa ang task force," he also stressed.

If enacted into law, the new department shall concentrate on three key result areas, namely: disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness and response, and recovery and building forward better.

The Office of Civil Defense has recently voiced its support for the establishment of the DDR, emphasizing the importance of such institution in improving operations in managing and responding to future crises.

"Naniniwala ako na mahalagang magkaroon tayo ng point person o authority pagdating sa ating disaster response efforts. Hindi sapat na coordinating council o task force lamang palagi. Malugod kong tinatanggap ang pahayag ng Office of Civil Defense sa pagsuporta nito sa pagtatatag ng DDR," Go recently said.

"Sa pamamagitan ng pagiging isang departamento o isang independent authority, mas mapapabuti natin ang kakayahan at operasyon nito sa pamamahala at pagresponde sa mga darating na krisis," he added.

Recently, government climate agency reported that the El Niño phenomenon, characterized by long drought spell, will likely persist until middle of next year, triggering fears of possible massive adverse effects on food production in the country, particularly rice---the staple grain of Filipinos. Experts also warned that prolonged hotter climate may also lead to more communicable disease infections.

"Bilang chair ng Senate Committee on Health, interes ko rin na masiguro natin ang kalusugan ng ating mga mamamayan. Dapat walang magutom lalo na yung mga mahihirap kasi sila yung mga maliit o halos walang savings, sila yung pinakaapektado kapag may krisis," Go said.

Go is also pushing for the passage of his proposed SBN 193 or the Mandatory Evacuation Centers bill that seeks to build permanent, safe and well-equipped evacuation centers in every city, municipality and province nationwide.

Currently, makeshift evacuation centers, such as basketball courts or covered courts, are commonly used, and sometimes schools are repurposed as temporary shelters. This situation often disrupts the education of children and compromises the overall welfare of evacuees.

"Dapat po ay panahon nang magkaroon tayo ng sarili, malinis, maayos na evacuation center. Kaya po ako nag-file sa Senado ng Mandatory Evacuation Center para maitayo sa bawat syudad, munisipyo, at probinsya," Go said, stressing the need for dedicated facilities specifically designed to cater to the needs of displaced individuals and families.

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