‘Look forward with hope’

September 20, 2018

“WE can now 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.”

Thus said Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez, who chairs the House committee on accounts, yesterday as she welcomed the second reading approval Tuesday night of the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) bill, stressing this would spare the lives of many Filipinos and save properties from future disasters.

Romualdez, one of DDR’s principal authors who represents Tacloban City or the Ground Zero during the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013, said the measure would drastically reduce the country’s vulnerability to natural hazards with the impending passage into law of DDR.

She thanked her colleagues for prioritizing the passage of DDR, one of the priority measures of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte.

“From the bottom of my heart, I thank my colleagues for passing the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience on second reading.  Salamat sa malasakit,” said Romualdez.

She reiterated that Yolanda “is an unspeakable tragedy that we do not want to happen again.” Romualdez is the wife of Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) President Martin Romualdez, original proponent of the bill during the previous 16th Congress where he served as House Independent Bloc leader being Leyte congressman.

Earlier, Romualdez filed House Bill (HB) No. 7968 which was incorporated in the consolidated measure and is more attuned and responsive to the desired version of President Duterte.

Under the measure, it guarantees a unity of command, science-based approach, and full-time focus on natural hazards and disasters.

Romualdez said her latest proposal was an improved version of her original HB No. 344 that she earlier filed following President Duterte’s renewed call during his third State of the Nation Address (SoNA) for Congress to expedite the passage of proposed law seeking to create a new department to be headed by a secretary that would exclusively manage disasters and calamities in the country.

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