Press Release
December 9, 2023

Bong Go continues advocacy for enhanced disaster resilience and preparedness

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go emphasized the urgency of enhancing disaster resilience and preparedness, in relation to his legislative initiatives aimed to improve the country's interventions to natural disasters.

"Unang-una, dito po sa disaster, alam n'yo prone po ang probinsya ng Cagayan sa bagyo. Parating tinatamaan ito ng bagyo kada taon," Go said in an ambush interview on Thursday, December 7, after aiding recovering typhoon victims in Pamplona, Cagayan, as he highlighted the vulnerability of several regions to frequent natural disasters.

To address this, he has filed Senate Bill No. (SBN) 188, which proposes the establishment of a Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR), an agency focused on collaborative strategy for handling disasters.

"Nag-file po ako sa Senado ng Department of Disaster Resilience. Ito pong departamentong ito kung saka-sakaling maisabatas, magkakaroon po ng cabinet secretary level."

Explaining the envisioned role of the DDR, Go outlined its comprehensive responsibilities. "So ibig sabihin ito na po'ng secretary na ito ang makikipag-coordinate bago dumating ang bagyo, preposition of goods, coordination with LGUs (local government units) para ilikas po ang mga kababayan natin sa ligtas na lugar," he said.

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

Go further emphasized the need for collaboration with the OCD and other agencies for swift response and rehabilitation post-disaster. He also stressed the importance of immediate action in the face of disasters, "Napaka-importante po tuwing may bagyo, coordination kaagad."

The senator said this includes restoring electricity in coordination with the Department of Energy, addressing telecommunications issues with the Department of Information and Communications Technology, and clearing operations in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Highways.

In addition to the DDR, Go also co-sponsored SBN 2451, or the Ligtas Pinoy Centers bill, which was primarily sponsored by Senator Jinggoy Estrada. This bill, based on the Mandatory Evacuation Center bill previously filed by Go, aims to establish permanent, well-equipped evacuation centers nationwide.

"Ito pong bill na ito kung maisasabatas magkakaroon po ng mandatory evacuation center sa mga munisipyo at probinsya," said Go.

Go also highlighted the importance of disaster preparedness drills, especially in light of recent earthquakes across the country.

"Sa amin sa Senado, nabigla kami nagkaroon ng earthquake, hindi alam ng iba anong gagawin, ang iba hindi alan kung saan pupunta, magkakasikipan sa mga hagdanan pababa. Dapat po relax lang at sumunod tayo sa paalala ng gobyerno. Pumunta sa ligtas na lugar, 'wag mag-panic," reminded Go.

"So 'yun po dapat magkaroon tayo ng regular na earthquake drills dahil talagang prone tayo sa disaster. Sunog, baha, putok ng bulkan, lindol paulit-ulit na po 'yan. Hindi lang po sa Mindanao, pati na rin po dito sa Luzon ay nagkaka-earthquake din," he concluded.

On December 2, a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck off the coast of Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur. This disaster, resulting from shallow oblique-thrust faulting along the Philippine Trench, led to two fatalities. More than a thousand aftershocks have been recorded since the Hinatuan earthquake.

A separate event, measuring magnitude 6.8, struck off the coast of Cagwait in Surigao del Sur on December 4.

Following the Mindanao quakes, another tremor was felt across Metro Manila on December 5, with the epicenter in Lubang, Occidental Mindoro. The magnitude 5.9 earthquake led to immediate precautionary measures, including the suspension of railway operations and evacuation of buildings.

Additionally, on the same day, a magnitude 5.7 aftershock was reported off the coast of Cagwait, Surigao del Sur. This aftershock was a result of the magnitude 6.8 earthquake on December 4 and was felt at Intensity IV in Bayabas town.

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