Gibo on the Disaster Risk Management Act:
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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)