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PIA Press Release

Lawmakers appeal not to cut disaster preparedness funds

Manila (15 September) -- Lawmakers appealed to the national government not to cut the funds of disaster preparedness.

In a consultation meeting on the guidelines of the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act in Camp Aguinaldo, Senator Teofisto Guingona III said government must find resources to ensure that disaster mitigation programs have enough funds.

Guingona, one of the authors of the law, said funds for disaster preparedness and mitigation should not be sacrificed despite the government's cost cutting measures as these are needed to save lives in times of calamities.

Under the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act enacted on May 2010, the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) shall be given a P1B revolving fund to perform its functions. Accordingly, OCD's funding will come from the national budget.

Despite the huge budget shortfall, Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon is confident that Congress would find ways to allot funds for OCD.

If the government fails to allot P1B to the OCD in the succeeding years, this would add to the list of unfunded laws.

OCD Administrator Benito Ramos said the lack of funding could affect their disaster response initiatives.

Meanwhile, the Quezon City government recently strengthened its action plan to cope up with emergency situations like flash flood, earthquake, mudslide, and other natural disasters.

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista said the Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (QCDRRMC), under the Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS), is ready to render disaster assistance 24/7 to the public during calamities.

DPOS chief Elmo San Diego said coordination meetings are being undertaken to iron out even the most minute details and actions needed to be addressed during natural calamities.

He cited the need for highly-trained rescue teams and equipment for the city government to provide assistance to victims during distressed situations similar to the Sept. 26, 2009 typhoon "Ondoy'' which created havoc in many parts of Metro Manila and neighboring regions.

"We need to have enough number of emergency groups in order for us to respond to the needs of the communities that we are bound to serve and protect," San Diego added.

San Diego said based on the series of meetings with the concerned groups, the DPOS has given Bautista the list of additional equipment necessary to ensure a more efficient emergency operation. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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