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Go pushes for creation of disaster resilience dep’t

November 05, 2019 - Tuesday 6:11 PM by MDM

Article Banner Image Senator Christopher Lawrence Go speaks to earthquake victims in Makilala, North Cotabato

Senator Christopher Lawrence Go on Monday reiterated his proposal for the establishment of a separate executive department focused on disaster resilience to serve as the lead agency for disaster response and preparedness of the government.

This as Go distributed grocery packs and financial aid on Monday in the towns that were hit hardest by the 6.6- and 6.5-magnitude earthquakes that rocked North Cotabato and other parts of Mindanao on October 29 and 31, respectively.

An earlier strong quake with a magnitude of 6.3 first hit the same areas last October 16.

Go had earlier filed Senate Bill 205, known as “Disaster Resilience Act of 2019”, which seeks to establish “an empowered, highly-specialized, and responsive Department of Disaster Resilience with clear unity of command.”

The department aims to provide faster government response to natural disasters and calamities, such as typhoons and earthquakes, by putting together all related agencies under a single department.

The proposed measure also mandates local government units to build permanent and dedicated evacuation centers that are comfortable and complete with all necessary supplies needed by evacuees.

Go had gone straight to Mindanao on Monday from Thailand where he accompanied President Rodrigo Duterte for the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

He first visited victims in Kidapawan City who are temporarily staying at the evacuation center in Barangay Ilomavis before riding a motorcycle and proceeding to Makilala, North Cotabato to provide various forms of assistance.

Go said he has coordinated with the National Housing Authority (NHA) for the rebuilding and repair of the houses of the victims.

He urged the NHA to provide a long-term housing plan for victims of natural disasters. 

“Nakipag-ugnayan na po tayo sa NHA para mabigyan ng assistance ang mga biktima ng lindol,” he said.

He also encouraged the residents, especially those who are injured or in need of medical attention, to go to the nearest Malasakit Center so they can avail themselves of government assistance for their healthcare needs.

As to reports that the continuous earthquakes have damaged many structures, Go said government agencies should be strict in implementing the law, particularly the National Building Code which the Senator plans to revisit and propose necessary amendments to ensure safety amid recurring natural disasters, such as earthquakes. 

Go also said that he will talk to the Department of Health to install portalets in evacuation centers and ensure proper sanitation in the temporary shelters. This will prevent outbreaks of diseases in cramped areas.