Law to Boost RP's Capacity to Survive Disasters Signed

Article excerpt

Outgoing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has signed into law the ''Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010" in a bid to improve the country's survival capacity from disasters.In a country prone to natural disasters, Republic Act No. 10121 institutionalizes the government's plans and programs to anticipate, cope with, and recover from disasters, including impacts of climate change.The new law, signed by the President last May 27, has renamed the National Disaster Coordinating Council into the improved National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) or the National Council.The National Council, chaired by the Secretary of Department of National Defense, was mandated to develop "a comprehensive, all-hazard, multi-sectoral, inter-agency and community-based program to disaster risk reduction and management." The country's disaster preparedness framework will be reviewed on a five-year interval, or as may be deemed necessary, in order to ensure its relevance to the times."This Act provides for the development of policies and plans and the implementation of actions and measures pertaining to all aspects of disaster risk reduction and management, including good governance, risk assessment and early warning, knowledge building and awareness raising, reducing underlying risk factors, and preparedness for effective response and early recovery," the law read.The policy-making National Council will be composed of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary as vice chairman for disaster preparedness, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary as vice chairman for disaster response, the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) Secretary as vice chairman for disaster prevention and mitigation, and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general as vice chairman for disaster rehabilitation and recovery.Other responsibilities of the National Council are to compose a national early warning and emergency alert system; develop appropriate risk transfer mechanisms that shall guarantee social and economic protection and increase resiliency in the face of disaster; monitor the development and enforcement of the law; manage and mobilize resources for disaster risk reduction and management including the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund.With an initial budget of P1 billion, the Office of the Civil Defense was also empowered to administer a comprehensive national civil defense and disaster risk reduction and management program. …