Lawmakers prodded on DDR okay

February 09, 2020
Yedda Marie Romualdez

TINGOG Party-list Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez has appealed to congressmen and senators to fast-track the passage of the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR), saying further delay in its enactment would be detrimental to the country.

“We cannot delay it any further. In the last six months, our country has experienced a series of strong earthquakes in Mindanao, at least two destructive typhoons that hit Bicol and Leyte and the recent eruption of Taal Volcano – which has effectively displaced tens of thousands of our fellow Filipinos, destroying their homes and source of livelihood,” said Romualdez, one of the principal authors of DDR, which seeks to create a primary agency responsible for leading the national effort on disaster response.

Last week, Romualdez delivered her sponsorship speech on House Bill (HB) No. 5989 entitled “An Act Creating the Department of Disaster Resilience, Defining Its Mandate, Powers and Functions, Appropriating Funds Therefor, and For Other Purposes.”

As a neophyte member of the previous 17th Congress, Romualdez recalled that she wrote then newly elected President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte in 2016 to include in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) and on his priority legislative agenda the creation of a Cabinet-level department fully dedicated to disaster management and disaster resilience.

“The President did not disappoint this representation. Not only did he mention it in his SONA in 2016, he likewise repeated it in his succeeding SONAs in 2018 and 2019,” said Romualdez.

But Romualdez, wife of House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin
Romualdez who is also a principal author of DDR, lamented that “three years have gone by, we have yet to realize the long overdue plea of the President for Congress to pass the measure creating the Department of Disaster Resilience. But the need to guarantee disaster resilience has become even more urgent.”

In supporting the call of Romualdez, House Deputy Majority Leader Las Piñas City Rep. Camille Villar and House Assistant Majority Leader and Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo urged Malacanang to certify as urgent the DDR measure.

“DDR is a very important measure that our country needs to expedite government’s coordinated response to disasters. We join the call of Congresswoman Romualdez to pass the DDR bill,” said Villar who also sought the creation of the Commission on the Right to Adequate Food under her House Bill (HB) No. 5785, also known as the “Right to Adequate Food Framework Act.”

“Adequate food is not a matter of charity, but a legal entitlement. Hunger is inconsistent with human dignity and human rights, and must be eliminated. The State shall provide for a framework to address and eliminate hunger,” said Villar.

Villar said the Commission will be the primary policy-making and coordinating body to guarantee the implementation and full exercise of the right to adequate food under the Office of the President.