A HOUSE leader from the so-called “ground zero” of the strongest typhoon ever to hit land in recent history on Monday said hopes are now high to drastically reduce the country’s vulnerability to natural hazards with the impending passage into law of the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).
Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez, one of the principal authors of the measure and who represents Tacloban City or the ground zero for super typhoon Yolanda, stressed this as another strong storm is expected to enter the country later this week and may make landfall in the Batanes and Cagayan areas over the weekend.
“With the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience, we can look forward to the future with hope, knowing that the government is ready, better equipped and committed to exert its best effort to reduce the risks that come with natural disasters, to empower local communities to rise above the different vulnerabilities that surround them and to ensure that in the years to come, such a tragedy will never happen again,” Romualdez, chairperson of the House Committee on Accounts, told her colleagues during her sponsorship speech last Monday of the consolidated measure on DDR that would exclusively focus on disaster response.
In appealing to her colleagues to immediately approve the Duterte administration-sponsored measure, Romualdez recalled the sufferings of many people, especially her constituents, during and after the onslaught of supertyphoon Yolanda due to the absence of a single agency on disaster response.
“It is crucial to highlight that the struggle of our people did not only happen during that very day Haiyan (Yolanda) made landfall; it continued even weeks after the typhoon has long left our region. Deadlock and delays caused by bureaucratic paralysis, and poor coordination by different agencies rendered Tacloban City and most of the first district of Leyte completely helpless,” Romualdez lamented.
“It is high time that we create a Department of Disaster Resilience that will effectively reduce our vulnerability to natural hazards and bolster our resilience to the impact of national disasters and climate change,” said Romualdez.
She reiterated that Yolanda “is an unspeakable tragedy that we do not want to happen again.”
“Until now, five years after Haiyan has passed, the pain caused by the strongest typhoon in recent history remains fresh in the hearts and minds of our constituents. Haiyan not only took our properties, our livelihood and local businesses, but also the lives of our brothers and sisters, our mothers, fathers, grandparents, and even our friends. We all lost something on that day. Some lost someone they loved,” said Romualdez.