Disaster Risk Management

Gibo on the Disaster Risk Management Act:
  • "I support pending bills on the national disaster management act. Both versions state that local government units shall be authorized to use not less than 5% of their revenue for disaster risk management, which includes not merely response relief but also preparation and mitigation efforts."

  • "The events (Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng) have really shown the fact that indeed Local Government Units (LGUs) must take the lead in disaster risk management even in rescue and relief because the different topographies, the different conditions of the local governments cannot be managed and cannot be foreseen by the national government."

  • "We can be guides by trying to build up the LGUs' capacities by placing some sort of a rational framework or technical framework for decision-making. We have partner agencies that do that, too. With us are the United Nations, the OHA, and the rest. However, the most important thing is to give LGUs the freedom and the leeway to use more funds for capacity building in so far as disaster risk management is concerned. And the proposed law which I support totally will give that."

    (Source: FACE TO FACE: 100 Local Government Champions vs 4 Presidential Contenders, via www.gibo.ph)

  • * * *
    Most people don't realize that under the present law on disaster preparedness, PD 1566, it is the local government units (LGUs) who are the designated primary responders during a disaster, not the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC).

    The NDCC is just an ad hoc committee. It is not a permanent organization. It does not even have a regular budget because it does not directly handle operations.

    Local governments are the ones who are allotted a budget for disaster relief (5% of their total annual revenue is reserved for disaster management). The law placed the budget and the primary responsibility on local governments for the simple reason that local governments are the ones closest to affected areas when a disaster strikes.

    Section 1 of PD 1566, the law on disaster preparedness, states that:
    - Responsibility for leadership rests on the Provincial Governor, City Mayors, and Municipal Mayors, (and Barangay Chairman), each according to his area of responsibility;
    - The national government exists to support the local government.

    The NDCC's role as defined in PD 1566 is actually very limiting. PD 1566 is an old law that was passed in 1978 when Defense Ministers had more powers. This is why there are pending Disaster Risk Management bills right now in the Senate and Congress. The bills seek to replace the ad hoc NDCC with a permanent Disaster Risk Reduction Council (DRRC) that will be given the right powers and resources to correct the weaknesses of the current law. Sec. Teodoro brought up this same suggestion to members of the House before the bill was filed.

    (Source: "Teodoro welcomes replacement of NDCC with new agency", Philippine Star, October 8, 2009)