Early action on disasters sought


A PHILIPPINE senator has filed a bill seeking to establish a mechanism ensuring anticipatory actions or preventive measures ahead of climatic and natural disasters.

“In view of further strengthening national policies on disaster resilience amid the increasing threats of climate change and natural calamities, and shifting away from a reactive response toward a more proactive approach to disasters, the passage of this legislation is hereby endorsed,” said Senator Jose “Jinggoy” P. Estrada, who filed Senate Bill No. 2643 on April 23.

Under the bill, a State of Imminent Disaster is declared in anticipation of a natural disaster that is very likely to happen based on risk assessment made by state agencies.

The President would declare this through the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Before its declaration, the NDRRMC and its local offices are tasked to determine if the disaster will cause significant damage to shelter, critical infrastructure and facilities needed for disaster response. 

Disruptions to electricity supply, drinkable water, and health services will also be considered in declaring this, based on a copy of the bill.

A similar bill was filed before the House of Representatives in February.

“It shall be the policy of the state to protect the lives, properties, and livelihoods of its citizens by addressing risks, particularly the root causes of vulnerabilities, exposure to hazards, and the capacity to anticipate and cope with such hazards,” according to the Senate bill. — John Victor D. Ordoñez